5 Ways to Use Social Media During Lent

Let’s face it, Lent is a popular time for people to give up social media and the internet, or simply try and reduce screen time. This provides quite the challenge for a new Communications Director. While everyone can benefit from less distractions and mindless “surfing” there are meaningful ways you can use social media to deepen your Lenten journey and connect on a more faithful level with friends and family. Here is my list of Top 5 recommendations.LentWordCloud

1) Choose a specific time(s) each day to review, share, and enjoy social  content

Put the device down when your family members are telling you about their day, leave the phone in another room while you are at the dinner table. Leave it in your car or purse when sharing a meal or even coffee with a friend. These are times meant for meaningful interactions in person. The feed can wait, the posts will still be there when you get back. You can; however, gain from going online and starting your day by reading a positive reflection or finding a new prayer to share at dinner, researching project ideas that explain alms giving to a toddler and learning who is in need of your prayers today.Bible Online

2) De-Clutter your fans, friends, and feeds

Do you have a friend list a mile long of people whom you haven’t shared a live conversation in years? Do you have a few friends or pages you’ve liked in the past that often post crude language or content? Hide them or “unfriend” for 40 days of Lent and then re-evaluate what they offer after Easter.

3) Think before you post

Let’s face it, we’ve all posted thoughts a little too casually from time to time that neither serve a great purpose, nor offer real value to an online group. Make a commitment during Lent to be mindful of the content you post, like or share. Before you hit enter, ask yourself does it offer gratitude, build someone else up, or evangelize the faith? If yes, then Share It!

4) Take a step outside your comfort zone to evangelize

Nothing scares Catholics more than the thought of evangelizing their faith. It’s a muscle we just aren’t used to flexing, but it’s time. We are called to the New Evangelization.  Go forth and proclaim the Gospel, yup that even includes FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest. The content that we like and share is viral, it has an impact on people and while you may never know who needed to see a simple message of God’s love to get through a tough day or open their heart and come back to the Church- it happens. Need some ideas for simple steps:RetweetPope

  • Retweet the Pope @Pontifex
  • Share a favorite quote from a Saint
  • Share a link back to our website or another with a post like “Hey Catholic Mom friends have you signed up for the Holy Heroes daily Lenten email, it’s great to share with the kids. We are loving it at our house!”
  • Post “I’m joining the new Moms’ Ministry next week, who’s coming with me- Bonus- it’s an awesome way to earn your Catechism hours”

5) Post or tweet an offer to pray

I have to admit this wasn’t my idea, but it’s so good! John Lim shared this on Verso L’Alto blog. I like this because it not only begs you to take that evangelization step we talked about earlier, but it has transformational power for you and those that take you up on it. Here’s how it works, you write a post on Facebook that states that you are upping your prayer hours during Lent (and not just for your favorite on American Idol) you are offering to pray for the intentions of friends online. They simply add their intentions as a comment and your daily prayer list builds.

Bonus- Get prayerful on Pinterest

My favorite online obsession these days is Pinterest, and I’ve been building out boards focused on Lent, Faith, Mary, and more. St. Dominic’s has a few boards too. I’m doing some of the searching for you, everything from home decorating ideas, crafts, recipes and inspiration. Looking for family ideas for Lent, just search “catholic family lent” and wa-la!

Have a blessed Lent!

~Erin Jacobs

 



Become Like Children and Enter The Kingdom of God

Contributed article by Parishioner, Dalia Nino

Dalia Nino

Dalia Nino with her daughter.

 

“When I was younger, I used to think it rains when God is stepping on the clouds!” my eight years old tells me the other day. It made me smile, not just because my daughter says the cutest things, but also because it reminded me of what I thought at her age too. I had also asked my mother if when it rains, is it because Mary is washing the floors in heaven?
Jesus said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven”. Mathew 18:3.
So if we were children once, then we grew smarter and more mature, how did we come away from the kingdom of heaven? What exactly happened to our faith when we grew? I really wanted to find out. While doing our nightly routine of prayers: one Our Father, one Hail Mary, we thank God for our blessings for the day, ask him to forgive us and help be better children to Him etc… I added: Please God, send us Rain… I repeated that prayer for a whole week. My daughter then asked me: “Why do you keep praying for Rain? The weather on your phone says it is sunny this week, and it doesn’t look like it will rain”. I answered:” It is because we need rain, and so does nature and all the animals. And all we need to do is ask God for it. Even if the forecast says it is sunny this week, God can make it rain anytime”. She said: “Oh, ok”. And she prayed for it to rain with me.  At the end of that week, we sure had rain! She was so excited and said:” That’s because we asked God for it!”
That reaction answered my question about being children again: My girl had complete faith and confidence in God. She did not hesitate to ask Him. And when he did send us rain, she did not hesitate to admit it was from God.
littlefeetinrainHow many times we boldly ask God for much smaller things that rain? And how many times we acknowledge He sent us that grace? How many times we take it upon ourselves to pursue what we want or need and forget to ask Him first? If our God can make it rain, He can help you find that job, and can surely help you with your sickness, depression or any obstacle in our life.
“Elijah appeared before King Ahab to announce God’s curse: “As the LORD, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word.” (1 Kings 17:1, NIV)  Elijah was so confident in the power of God, that when he challenged the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of the false god Asherah to a showdown on Mount Carmel. The idolaters sacrificed a bull and cried out to Baal from morning until nightfall, even slashing their skin until blood flowed, but nothing happened. Elijah then put the burnt offering on the Lord’s altar along with wood. He had a servant douse the sacrifice and wood with four jars of water, three times, until all was thoroughly soaked. Elijah called on the Lord, and God’s fire fell from heaven, consuming the offering, the wood, the altar, the water, and even the dust around it. The people fell on their faces, shouting, “The Lord, he is God; the Lord, he is God.” (1 Kings 18:39, NIV) Elijah prayed, and rain fell on Israel. “GodLikeRain

God can make it rain and water our land, and he can make fire fall down from heaven and burn stones and water! Like Elijah, my daughter asked God for rain and believed it will happen before it really did. Like my daughter, Elijah asks God for things Boldly!
No wonder he went straight to heaven! Literally! “…a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them(Elijah and Elisha), and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind. “2 Kings 2:11. And no wonder this is my daughter’s favorite bible story, she can understand and relate to him like any child. But can we?

Teach your children about God today, and you will be surprised how much you will be learning from them.



Come Pray the Seven Sorrows Rosary

Join us to Pray the Seven Sorrows Rosary

Beginning February in St. Dominic’s Catholic Church in Benicia

The Blessed Virgin Mary grants seven graces to the souls who honor her daily by saying seven Hail Mary’s and meditating on her tears and Dolores (sorrows). The devotion was passed on by St. Bridget. HERE ARE THE SEVEN GRACES:
  1. our-layd-of-the-7-sorrows-243x300

    I will grant peace to their families.

  2. They will be enlightened about the divine mysteries.
  3. I will console them in their pains and I will accompany them in their work.
  4. I will give them as much as they ask for as long as it does not oppose the adorable will of my divine Son or the sanctification of their souls.
  5. I will defend them in their spiritual battles with the infernal enemy and I will protect them at every instant of their lives.
  6. I will visibly help them at the moment of their death, they will see the face of their Mother.
  7. I have obtained from my divine Son, that those who propagate this devotion to my tears and dolors, will be taken directly from this earthly life to eternal happiness since all their sins will be forgiven and my Son and I will be their eternal consolation and joy.

How to Pray the Seven Sorrows

      The Sorrowful Rosary is prayed by praying one Our Father and 7 Hail Marys seven times, each time meditating on one of the 7 Sorrows of Our Lady:     (1) Prophesy of Simeon (2) Flight into Egypt (3) Loss of Jesus in the Temple (4) Mary Meets Jesus on the Way to Calvary (5) Mary Stands at the Foot of the Cross (6) Mary Receives the Dead Body of Jesus in Her Arms (7) Jesus is Placed in the Tomb. The Sorrowful Rosary was granted full or partial indulgence on May 28, 1942.  Please contact Amy Collins at or 707-567-0808 if you are interested in participating. Place: at church. Time: 3:30 p.m.  Days: to be determined, but possibly, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and/or Friday each week. The first 10 people to sign up to participate will be given a free Seven Sorrows Rosary.