Both Isaiah and Peter had the task of comforting and encouraging their communities during times of exile. The Israelites were in geographic exile from Israel; to them this was, in effect, the same as being in exile from their God. The early Christians, following the Resurrection, expected an immediate return of Christ in glory; they, too, felt in “exile” as the delay of the Second Coming grew longer and longer. All four of scripture’s authors today—Isaiah, the psalmist, Peter, and Mark—hasten to help us see things in God’s terms, not ours. They want us to know that we can never truly be exiled from God, or from God-among-us, since we know that when the faithful are gathered, Christ has come into their midst. Instead, we are encouraged today to do what we can from our end to shorten the time of our exile: to repent of our sins, to return our lives to the Lord, to live as people who seek the coming day of the Lord, when “kindness and truth shall meet; justice and peace shall kiss” (Psalm 85:10).
Copyright © J. S. Paluch Co.

Going to Mass with young children can be challenging, to put it nicely. Despite how that, going to Mass with young children IS Worth It. It’s not meant for fun or entertainment or even relaxation. Sometimes Mass is Calvary and sometimes it’s the Resurrection. The catch is that you don’t get to pick. You just have to try and accept it for what it is.

1. Come as prepared as you can

Try and plan ahead and allow time to give the little people some form of nutrition before heading out the door so they aren’t “starving” and whining all about it in the pew.

That said, when we go, the four-year-old is usually finishing off his cereal en route and the baby is still in his jammies, bed head and all.

2. Distraction & redirection

Bring items like books & toys that you can throw at your kids when they start losing focus – if they ever had it.

– I keep a tub in our car with “church books” the kids can pick to bring in with them. When we forget ours, our parish’s cry room has a basket of “lost and forgotten” kids’ books to borrow. Some of the Touch and Feel animal books have helped get us through some unstable times with the baby as well.

– For toys, we keep a bag in the diaper bag filled with special and appropriate toys for Mass time to help distract and ‘entertain’ the little ones who have no real interest in staying in the same place for any amount of time. Be careful what you put in here though. Stay away from anything that beeps, buzzes, lights up or makes any other sound. Keep the wind-up cars at home to avoid chasing runaway toys under the pews and up the altar.

– Notebook and crayons – Blank paper + colors = minutes of focused fun. It’s the simple things sometimes. You can even give the artwork to the priest as a peace offering after Mass.

3. Deflect & ignore

I picked this idea up from this crazy lady with big hair who goes to daily Mass every day, even in the summer, with her FIVE young offspring. When it comes to annoying behavior at Mass, if in doubt, pretend like you didn’t see it.

Seriously, unless it’s hurting someone or damaging church property, or causing too big of a raucous – it can wait. I used to spend way too much time correcting my kids about things that in the end really don’t matter. They won’t go to hell if they don’t kneel and stand when everyone else is.

Sometimes, the less attention you give them the less they try and irritate you. (However, that rule isn’t written in stone unfortunately.) My four-year-old likes to scowl at me when I tell him “no” about something. I usually either ignore him or scowl back.

4. Location, location, location

There are really only two good options when picking your pew. Either sit as far away from other people as you can or march right up to the front so the kids can see what’s going on instead of staring at (and trying to poke) people’s backsides the whole time.

When I’m flying solo, I like to sit in the last pew at the back so we’re not getting in anyone’s view or making anyone nauseous from all the up movement. This also provides quick and easy access to the exit in case of emergencies. (Like throw-up and ‘time-outs’.)

5. Walk out when needed

Sometimes you can only distract and redirect so much until it becomes impossible to keep a young and energetic child in one place. It’s okay if you have to get up and take a little walk in the back of the church.

I know some moms who live for the cry room and others who loathe it. It just depends on what works for you and each child in each situation. Mass isn’t a competition to see who can keep their children in their pew the longest or who can look holiest.

6. Abandon your expectations

If you have certain ideas about how you think Mass with your littles should go, get rid of them. Check them at the doors and bless yourself with the holy water.

Going to Mass with young children is NOT the same as going to Mass alone. It’s also NOT the same as when you were single and had no clue what children were really like. Accept this or fail.

Every Mass experience will be different. It’s important to note that your Mass experience with your children will also differ from that of another parent’s so don’t compare. As another good friend of mine with normal-sized hair said so well, each Mass experience is different; know that each time you go “this is the Mass you’re supposed to have.”

7. Pray – You are at Mass

You go there to PRAY. The Mass is a PRAYER. So PRAY!

Even if your only prayer is, “Lord, save me from these children!!!” It acknowledges that you NEED Him and that’s a good start. If you’re blessed, He’ll hear that prayer and might even save you from yourself in the process.

So if you’re running on fumes and need a little extra grace, try Mass. It sounds crazy. It might drive you crazy. In fact, I can guarantee it will refine you.

But after you get used to it, it will be worth it. I promise. The eternal benefits for you and your children outweigh the temporary and earthly hardship.

Copyright 2013 Erika Marie



“Watch!” This word occurs three times in today’s Gospel passage. Moreover, it is placed at significant points: the beginning, the center, and the end. Though this is technically a parable, it is quite short (four verses). The threefold repetition of “watch” leaves no doubt as to what the story is about.

We often think of Advent as a time of waiting, but it truly is a season of watchfulness, a very active form of waiting for the coming Day of the Lord. It is that day, more than Christmas day, that the Christian community faithfully expects, using all of our gifts and talents for this purpose, as Paul reminds us in the Letter to the Corinthians. When we use these gifts in faithful watching and expectation, we become like the servants of the parable, set to their tasks, not waiting around idly, but engaged in the master’s work until his return.

May our Advent be a time when we return or rededicate our lives and our communities to this work—the active and diligent faithfulness that the Lord will expect to find.
Copyright © J. S. Paluch Co.


Each of the seven sacraments, like other aspects of the Church’s pastoral plan, is an attempt to be faithful to the image of Christ we discover in the Gospels. Anointing of the sick is rooted in Jesus’ saving deeds of healing and even rescue from death. What is your favorite encounter of Jesus with a sick person?

Often, it seems that Jesus would go at once to the person in a crowd who was in the most pain, in the deepest need. A man born blind, Peter’s mother in law, a woman afflicted by years of uncontrollable hemorrhages, a little Roman girl beloved by her soldier father, a crippled man lowered from the rafters, and even a man who lost his ear to a swinging sword in the garden of agony.

This list reads like an admissions chart in an emergency room, and perhaps that is the point. The whole human experience from childhood to old age, from sudden catastrophic illness to chronic debilitating conditions, is represented by those for whom Jesus has such great compassion. This we can name a treasure of tradition with a capital “T.” We are a people of compassion for our sick, who reach out in tenderness to listen, to keep vigil, to strengthen, to touch with reverence, and to anoint with precious oil.
—Rev. James Field, Copyright © J. S. Paluch Co.

Assumption-Church_Edited-8350-200x300On Monday November 11th, Our Lady of Assumption Catholic Church received a huge boost in its efforts to reach its goal for critical restoration projects required to restore and preserve the church building for future generations to cherish. The Church requires major repairs in order to ensure it remains a safe and viable structure for both parishioners and our community at large to continue to visit and enjoy.

At a special luncheon today hosted by Most Rev. Ronald P. Fabbro, C.S.B., Bishop of London and Fr. William A. Riegel, C.S.B., Pastor and attended by many community, business and parish leaders, exciting news was shared regarding the additional commitment of a $3.5 million dollar challenge pledge from Al Quesnel, which will be set aside and used to match new donations. Mr. Quesnel had previously contributed $1.25 million dollars toward the funding of emergency restoration repairs to keep the church building open, of which $800,000 remains for future restoration. It is Mr. Quesnel’s ardent desire that this new pledge will serve as a catalyst for other donors to come forward with donations to support the preservation of this architectural masterpiece.

Mr. Quesnel intends to use this additional pledge to match any and all new donations received by the Our Lady of Assumption Restoration Campaign. “We are deeply grateful to Mr. Quesnel who is a supremely generous individual and an exemplary community leader,” said Father Riegel.

Referencing this exceptional gift to Assumption Church Bishop Fabbro said, “It is evident how much Mr. Quesnel believes in this project and how much it means to him. I greatly admire his leadership and desire to complete this restoration work. My hope is that his ‘challenge’ pledge will inspire other leaders in this community to come forward now with their donations to restore and preserve this important heritage site.”

In his remarks, Father Riegel emphasized the importance of the church to this region. “Our Lady of Assumption Church has been that visible, enduring sign for generations of people in Windsor. This is a place where people have gathered for centuries. It is here that countless and significant moments have been marked in the lives of our people, not only religious events but civic and cultural ones as well.”

Mr. Quesnel added, “The time has come for us to join together and embrace the vision of restoring this church for future generations. Let’s stand united in our resolve to contribute generously to the restoration of this living historical icon.”

Following these inspirational remarks several leaders in attendance stepped up and committed significant contributions of their own to the campaign and many remarked on the outstanding example Mr. Quesnel has set for us all. “Matching our contributions is a wonderful way to inspire other donors to follow suit. We all can and should do our part to preserve this piece of Canadian heritage,” said Mr. Daniel Shaheen, who made a $50,000 pledge, to be matched to $100,000, in honour of his late sister Samia Rose and his late friend Todd Ellis.

Upon hearing news of this incredible contribution to the restoration campaign, Gerald Freed, a donor to the campaign said the Freed/Orman family are considering increasing their commitment. “We are thrilled and delighted to receive the magnanimous gift from Al Quesnel for the preservation, renovation and beautification of Assumption Church. This outstanding contribution, which is the largest single charitable gift in Windsor and Essex County, should inspire us to renew our efforts to raise the remaining funds necessary for the completion of this critical project. This will guarantee that the famous landmark – the beautiful Our Lady of Assumption Church will continue to be the magnificent Western Anchor for our very important Windsor Waterfront.”

The restoration work of the interior and exterior of the building will take place over a period of five to six years. Construction will commence when $7 million has been pledged, and fundraising will continue until the campaign goal of $10 million is reached.

It is anticipated that construction may get underway as early as spring 2014.

Campaign Advisors Ed Agnew, Amanda Gellman and Kim Spirou are available to meet with donors about the Our Lady of Assumption Restoration Campaign as well as handle inquiries about matching gifts.