A Catholic Journey Through Grief

The Diocese of Lafayette’s Office of Marriage and Family Life will offer two A Catholic Journey through Grief retreats a year. One will be in the spring and the other in the fall. It will consist of a full day retreat with a follow up session 2 weeks later.

The retreat will be led by Joan Broussard. Joan is a published author, writing several magazine articles on the gifts of the sacraments. She has recently published the Second Edition of her first book, Grief Guts and Grace where she offers guidance, and practical wisdom to those struggling with grief and loss. Joan has been offering Spiritual Direction since 2007 and she currently serves as a member of the Louisiana Spiritual Directors organization.

Our fall retreat will be on Sunday, October 4, 2015 with the follow up on Sunday, October 18th.

The October 4 retreat and October 18 follow-up will be held at the St. Anne Parish Hall in Youngsville.

October 4 Retreat:  9:30am to 4:30 with mass at 5:00 pm.

October 18  Follow-up gathering:  2;30 pm to 4;30 with mass at 5:00 pm

The follow-up session will be held in conjunction with a Grief Workshop for Children; please see details below).

The cost of the event will be $30.00 which will include your supplies for both days and lunch for your retreat day.
Please click here to register online.  http://www.diolaf.org/grief

GRIEF WORKSHOP FOR CHILDREN – OCTOBER 18, 2015

The Office of Marriage & Family Life has teamed up with Ninette Cormier, LPC-S and Jessica Johnson, LPC, to offer a grief workshop for children ages 11-14.  The workshop will be held on Sunday, October 18, 2015 from 2:30-4:30 PM at St. Anne Church in Youngsville. We will end the workshop with Mass.

This workshop is designed to make it easier for your child to share feelings. Children often feel they are “different” after the loss of a family member.  Through guided therapeutic art and group activities, your child can learn that they are not alone in their grief.  Some benefits of the workshop include:  expressing feelings and emotions appropriately with others who have experienced similar losses; increasing levels of openness, honesty and trust; and understanding and coping with changes in the family since the death of a special person.

To register your child for this workshop, please complete and submit the registration form on the site:  http://www.diolaf.org/grief

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Journaling Through Grief

Hospice of Acadiana announces 6-week series:   Journaling through Grief

Sessions will be held at the Hospice of Acadiana Office in Lafayette.

Dates: October 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, November 5

Call (337) 232-1234 to register.  No cost for this series.  

Presented by Joan Broussard.  

Writing it out helps to get the pain from down deep inside to a place where we can heal and grow.

 Come and begin healing your grief through Spiritual Journaling.

If you are stuck in your grief and feel like you are unable to move forward with your life, come and hear  how journaling through grief can help you through the healing process.

You will leave with all the tools you’ll need to continue your healing journey through the practice of journaling.

A Catholic series will not want to miss!!!

If you have questions about our Catholic faith, this is the series for you!!!

Come discover the answers in this insightful series.

SYMBOLON: The Catholic Faith Explained

Delivering the Big Picture of the Catholic Faith 

Filmed in Rome, the Holy Land and Calcutta, Symbolon features dozens of the best Catholic teachers  who explain our Catholic faith in an easy to understand way that will enrich everyone’s faith.

 This series is being presented throughout our Lafayette Diocese and now has arrived in our own St. Anne Parish.  Come listen and learn more about your Catholic Faith.

Series begins: Monday October 4, 2015, 6:00PM– 7:30                                                                    Sessions will be held at the St. Anne Parish Hall, Youngsville, LA                                                      Facilitator: Joan Broussard

Register by September 21    Cost:  $20.00 (workbook)

Please call the rectory to reserve your place, (337)856-8212

Sessions to be held:

October 15         The Journey of Faith

October 12        Divine Revelation

October 19         The Bible

October 26         The Story of Salvation

November 2        Who is Jesus

November 9        The Paschal Mystery

November 16     The Holy Spirit & the Life of Grace

November 23     Why do I need the Church?

November 30     Mary and the Saints

December 7        The Last Things

Need a good read for your book group?

I am proud to present the second edition of my book, Grief Guts and Grace, recently published by Tate Publishing.

I would like to give the book groups in our area the opportunity to be among the first to read this Second Edition of my book, Grief Guts and Grace.  This new edition has been published by Tate Publishing and contains reflection questions that help with grief work.  It also contains new images of the angels in our yard as well as more poetry on grief.

I am willing to do a Question/Answer with your group after you have finished reading it.  I am also happy to sign books for your group.  If my book fits the focus and interest of your group, message me to arrange delivery of books and a date for Q&A.

The official release date for this second edition of Grief Guts and Grace was March 17.              I will be having a book signing at The Lab, in River Ranch, Lafayette, LA on May 16, from 5:00 to 7:00 pm.  Come see me – I would love to sign a book for you!!

Grief Guts and Grace is currently available at Crossroads  Book Store in Lafayette, La, through Barnes & Noble, Amazon and Tate Publishing’s web site, http://www.tatepublishing.com.  You can also purchase them directly from me.  Cost is $10.99.  Message me for ordering information.

I look forward to talking to you about my book.

Front cover

How is Your Lent Going?

Today is the Third Sunday of Lent.  Today’s gospel in Mark tells recounts the Transfiguration of Jesus before the disciples.   “And he was transformed before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no fuller on earth could bleach them.  Then Elijah appeared to them along with Moses and they were conversing with Jesus……..Then a cloud came, casting a showdow over them: from the cloud came a voice, ‘This is my beloved Son, Listen to him’.   Suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone but Jesus alone with them.”

I am wondering about the conversation between Jesus, Elijah and Moses.  Scripture says there were conversing with Jesus.  What do you image they were talking about?  Perhaps it went something like this:

Jesus:  Thank you for coming to visit me here among our people.

Elijah:  I was anxious to see the twelve men you chose to lead and teach after you come back to us in heaven.  Do you really think they can do it?  They look like simple fishermen to me.  I’m not sure they are up to the task you will set before them.  I hope you chose the right ones Jesus.

Moses:  At least they know you.  Me and my people wondered around the deserts for so many years waiting for you and never did get to see you as they do.  I hope they realize the gift they have been given in your presence Jesus.  We had the Old Testament laws  – so many laws  that we were bound to.  It was so difficult to follow all of them.  The least infraction and we were doomed.  I hope they all can see the tremendous gift you are giving to them.    

Elijah:  Yeah Jesus – have you told them that you are here to change all those old laws – no more eye for an eye and all that……Oh that they would know how free they can be with the hope you are bringing to them!  They can turn to you and be freed from their sinful ways.  

Jesus:  These twelve men were selected by the Father for the task they are being given.  Some of them will fail at first but those failures will prove to be the purification of their faith and will motiviate them to stand faithful to my teaching.  The Father is going to send them his Spirit of Faith and Love who will guide them to accomplish their task.  They will all accomplish what has been predestined for them.  

Moses:  You are going to remind them of the laws you carved for me on the stones?

Jesus:  Oh Yes, and I will carve them in the hearts of these men and all who will follow?

Has Jesus carved his will for your life in your heart – are you following his will?  Do you even know what his will is for you?  Lent is the time for each of us to slow down long enough to listen to his will; to let that small voice come into our spirit and speak to us.   If we are willing, he will speak to us of all the ways in which we are not living in accord with his will and will give us joy for the ways in which we are.

It is our tradition to “give up” something for Lent.  This year, I have given up french fries and dip cones.  The fries and dips are something I enjoy.  I offer them up as a discipline of the flesh to let God know I am willing to offer allbeit small sacrifice in gratitude for all his has given to me.  It reminds me that I need to look at the things in my life that speak to overindulgence.  How about you – what overindulgence are you being reminded of this Lent?

It is also our tradition to “take up”  something for Lent.  We might take up going to weekday mass or adding a Lenten medatation to our prayers during Lent. Perhaps it’s going to confession. In addition to weekday mass, I am again taking up my yearly journals for Lent.

Just before Lent each year I begin to think and pray about all the people I am close to – family, friends, Directees.  I ask God who we will invite into our Lent?  As I am praying about each, I hear his invitation to that person to join us for Lent.  I then go out and buy a journal for each person he/we invite.  Then, beginning on Ash Wednesday and each day during Lent I write to that peson in their journal.  I typically tell them about lessons I am learning, reflections I am reading and whatever else God whispers to me to write (like taking dictation).  I have to opportunity in their journal to share how proud I am of them and how they are living their lives.  I write about my love for them.  It’s a great way to tell them all the things I might not say to them but always wanted to.  I usually end each day with an open-ended question for them to reflect on.  This year I am writing to four people.

Then on Easter Sunday, I wrap up the journal and go to them for a personal delivery.  I don’t reveal who I have been writing to until that day.  Nice surprise – a gift of love from me – but especially from the Lord – because I trust he will reveal himself to them by some simple little word that I heard him tell me to write just for that person.

What are you “taking up” this Lent?  How is it bringing you closer to accomplishing the task God has given to you.  We have all been given a task, just like the disciples.  Lent is the time to take a look at how were are doing with it.

God Bless You!!!

You’re going to the Nativity…are you ready?

I invite you into an imaginative contemplation using the style taught by St. Ignatius of Loyola. Ignatius teaches us to enter a scene in scripture as an observer, as one of the people in scripture or as in the contemplation I offer here as yourself. We take part in the scripture scene and hear the message God has intended for us,
So, take a quiet moment away from the shopping, decorating, cooking, and all the Christmas preparations and come to the nativity. There is a young girl there about to have a baby and she needs your help. You can decide which person you are called to be – the innkeeper, the husband, the girl, a passerby, an observer, or maybe the innkeeper’s wife.
This contemplation begins with the innkeeper telling the husband that he has no more rooms. All the rooms in his inn are filled with people who have come to Bethlehem in order to fulfill their requirements of the census called by Herod.
The husband is turning to leave, when the innkeeper tells him he can use their stable behind the inn. There are animals in it but it’s all he has to offer. The husband is grateful and accepts, glad to have the shelter.
As the husband leaves the innkeeper’s wife comes in, having just walked by the girl on the donkey, heavy with child.
She tells her husband ” How could send that man to the stables, didn’t he tell you his wife was going to have a baby, and it might be as soon as tonight?”
The husband replied “No, he didn’t tell me anything about a wife.”
So, his wife goes to gather her best linens and tells him “I’ll be in the stable with that couple. They are about to become a family. That young girl looks so tired and frightened. I bet this is her first child. I’m going help her so don’t look for me for a whole. I’m staying with her for as long as she needs me.”
The innkeeper’s wife goes to the stable just as the couple are settling in. She helps to gather straw and sets up a makeshift bed for them as she notices the girl is beginning to go into labor.
“Rest easy my lady, I’m here and I’m not leaving you. I can help you. I’ve had two babies of my own and know what to do.” instructs the woman.
They introduce themselves to each other. They talk about their lives, their husbands and mostly about their faith. As the night wears on, the woman is mid-wife to the young woman, Mary who has not become her friend.

(Imagine for yourself what that conversation would have been like. What would you like to say to her; to ask her? How would you care for her? )

As the baby is born, the older woman is wondering where all the music is coming from – seems to be coming from the sky – the heavens! She wonders who these three men are and where they came from. They say they came to worship their King. She looks at her new friend, Mary, and wonders at all this. As she begins to understand the meaning of this night, Mary takes her Son from the manger and offers him to the woman.
“May I introduce you to Jesus, my son, your King?” says Mary as she hands her son to the woman.

Ponder the scene:
Do you accept Jesus right away or is some hesitation to accept this precious gift? If you accept him, look into his eyes and allow him to see into your heart and love you unconditionally, just as you are! If there is hesitation, ask Jesus to show you why and heal whatever resistance there may be so that you can enjoy the fullness of his love!

Merry Christmas Mary, my friend. Thank you for bringing Jesus to me!

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Psalm 23 – A different twist with a lesson.

Our pastor gave an interesting homily last Sunday.  He used a version of the 23rd Psalm to make the point about how we can be so separated from God that everything becomes distorted. We should look at our passions and what we spend time doing.  Do our activities line up with our faith, convictions and beliefs?  Here is the distorted version of the 23rd Psalm Father read to us.  Ask God to reveal any truth in it for your life.

The TV is my shepherd, I shall not want.

It makes me to lie down on the sofa

It leads me away from the faith,

It destroys my soul

It leads me to the path of sex and violence for the advertiser’s sake.

Even though I walk in the shadow of Christian responsibilities,

There will be no interruption, for the TV is with me.

Its cable and remote control, they comfort me

It prepares a commercial for me in the midst of my worldliness

And anoints my head with secular humanism and consumerism.

My covetousness runs over;

Surely ignorance and laziness shall follow me all the days of my life.

And I shall dwell in the hose of wretchedness, watching TV forever.

(Source: Homily broadcast on EWTN, March 18, 2002)

First of all, let me say that not all TV is bad and we should carefully discern what is good for the spirit.  Maybe, TV is not your shepherd as the parody implies; perhaps Iphone, internet, shopping, going to the casino, or some other activity has become the wrong shepherd for you.

 Just be aware that the false spirit can use anything to distract us from the real meaning of this beautiful Psalm. This is a beautiful way to live; a way that leads to life, peace and true happiness.

The Lord is my shepherd: I shall not want

In verdant pastures he gives me repose;

Beside restful waters he leads me;

He refreshes my soul.

He guides me in right paths for  his names sake

Even though I walk in the dark valley

I fear no evil; for you are at my side

with your rod and your staff

that gives me courage (Psalm 23:1-4)

 

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