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Writing a letter to your confirmation candidate

It seems that one of the biggest events in confirmation preparation in this country is the letters of support to be given to the confirmation candidates during their mandatory retreats.

I have three such letters saved on this blog:

Confirmation letter to my daughterConfirmation letter to my fourth sonConfirmation letter to to my third son
I've asked my children what they remember about the letter they got from me and their dad, and also what they remembered about the letters they received. 
The answer was not much, or at least nothing specific. In general they were happy to have gotten a bag full of letters and there was a sense of feeling loved and supported. I guess that's the main thing - for them to have a sense that this is an important step in their spiritual growth, and that people they know, love and respect have taken the time out of their lives to let them know that! So here are some tips on procuring and writing letters for young confirmation candidates. Start thinkin…

The Feast of St. Nicholas

Yesterday's advent readings were about John the Baptist and today is the Feast of St. Nicholas! So with that in mind here is a picture from a few years ago - a good friend of ours portraying good St. Nick and Mr. Pete as the voice in the wilderness, John the Baptist!
This is one of my favorite Advent feasts! It's unfortunate that it falls on a Monday (Monday just never seems like a good day to celebrate for some reason). But we are going to celebrate a little bit anyway and I hope you all are too!

Be sure to visit the St. Nicholas Center today.
Also the Bounty of St. Nicholas Fair
My Links for St. Nicholas.

A few years ago we made a  St. Nicholas Spoon Saint!

He turned out like this:

Izzy makes our newest spoon saint- St. Nicholas
Originally uploaded by elliemom.

st. nicholasSt. Nicholas was a real person, and in fact a real bishop! You can read his story here but an excerpt is below:

The true story of Santa Claus begins with Nicholas, who was born during the third century in the village of Patara. At the time the area was Greek and is now on the southern coast of Turkey. His wealthy parents, who raised him to be a devout Christian, died in an epidemic while Nicholas was still young. Obeying Jesus' words to "sell what you own and give the money to the poor," Nicholas used his whole inheritance to assist the needy, the sick, and the suffering. He dedicated his life to serving God and was made Bishop of Myra while still a young man. Bishop Nicholas became known throughout the land for his generosity to the those in need, his love for children, and his concern for sailors and ships.

Under the Roman Emperor Diocletian, who ruthlessly persecuted Christians, Bishop Nicholas suffered for his faith, was exiled and imprisoned. The prisons were so full of bishops, priests, and deacons, there was no room for the real criminals—murderers, thieves and robbers. After his release, Nicholas attended the Council of Nicaea in AD 325. He died December 6, AD 343 in Myra and was buried in his cathedral church, where a unique relic, called manna, formed in his grave. This liquid substance, said to have healing powers, fostered the growth of devotion to Nicholas. The anniversary of his death became a day of celebration, St. Nicholas Day.

It's clear that Nicholas was a courageous and loving bishop. I can't imagine that he would have remained silent while a woman in his diocese was publicly starved to death, or that he would have sat by while civil leaders verbally condone the killing of innocents while receiving our Lord in the Eucharist with the same mouths. I think there is much to learn today from the strength and bravery of a saint such as Nicholas.

There are lots of great books to share with children and adults alike about St. Nicholas.  Bill Bennett has one that was new to me.  (He is the author of the books of virtue).

The True Saint Nicholas: Why He Matters to ChristmasThe True Saint Nicholas: Why He Matters to Christmas

I really like to give my children a truer look at the lives of the saints and The Legend of Saint Nicholas doesn't sugar coat it!  The Legend of Saint Nicholas

Younger children or people who are just learning of the story of St. Nicholas will enjoy this animated film.  Nicholas:the Boy Who Became Santa [VHS]Nicholas:the Boy Who Became Santa [VHS]

Our assorted St. Nicholas statues come out today and they will hang around the advent wreath today and tomorrow.

We aren't having Izzy's famous pancakes tomorrow because Dad will already be at work and wouldn't be able to enjoy them.  We are trying thes cupcakes instead for dinner!

It's our tradition to have the kids put their shoes out on the Feast of St. Nicholas.  One year we did NOT fill shoes with candy on the eve of the feast. Mr. Pete worked very late and and was working all the next day  although the kids put their shoes out, they are not getting filled until the night of the feast. I write this as a way of saying it's okay to live the liturgical life, but with family and work responsibilities, it's also okay to be flexible in our celebrations from day to day and from year to year! This year Mr. Pete is getting the candy as I write this. We are also making a package of candy for Calvin and Sarah.

More pictures to follow!

Saint Nicholas ::: Advent Saint: "How does St. Nicholas fit into all of this? He is an Advent saint because his December 6th feast day always falls in early Advent (Advent begins four Sundays before Christmas between November 27 and December 3). However, Nicholas is a good Advent saint for more important reasons than the date of his special day. Whatever he did, and it is said that he did many kinds of amazing things, what he did may not be as important as the way he did it. Nicholas became so popular because in his own life he was such a faithful follower of Jesus Christ. His life always clearly reflected the way each one of us is called to show God's love to others, especially those in need.
Celebrating St. Nicholas on his day in Advent brings a bit of fun and festivity into homes, churches, and schools. His small treats and surprises help keep the spirit of good St. Nicholas, especially when stories of his goodness and kind deeds are told and ways to express his care for those in need are sought. Yes, Nicholas is a good Advent saint

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