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…

For the Love of St. John - Third Day of Christmas

Happy Third Day of Christmas

Patron Saints Index: Saint John the Apostle: "The only one of the Twelve not to forsake the Savior in the hour of His Passion, standing at the foot of the cross. Made guardian of Our Lady by Jesus, he took her into his home. Upon hearing of the Resurrection, he was the first to reach the tomb; when he met the risen Lord at the lake of Tiberias, he was the first to recognize Him. "

I've always had a soft spot for St. John too. The church I grew up in was St. John's. I was married there as was my mother and sister.

My grandmother was the church secretary and my grandfather helped there as an usher and with the fish fry.

St. John is also the patron for my current diocese, the Diocese of Clevland

I love that St. John was the only apostle that was not martyred, although he did have his fair share of trials. This link gives some fascinating tid bits about this special saint.

Catholic Online: "St. John, Apostle and Evangelist (Feast day - December 27th)
and Fish Eaters
St John the Evangelist

  Today, this third day of Christmas, is the Feast of St. John. 

St. John was the son of Zebedee and Salome, and the brother of St. James the Greater (Feast day: 25 July) who, together, were given the nickname "Boanerges" ("Sons of Thunder") by Christ Himself. The men of Zebedee's family were fishermen, and it is possible that SS. John and James were disciples of St. John the Baptist when they encountered the One of Whom the Forerunner spoke.

They were called just after SS. Peter and Andrew -- two other fishermen brothers -- left everything behind to follow Jesus, and SS. Peter, James, and John had the most prominent positions of all the Apostles. It was these three who were present for the Transfiguration and Christ's Agony in the Garden of Gethsemani.

Peter and John were the two who prepared for the Last Supper, at which John -- described as "the disciple whom Jesus loved" -- sat next to Our Lord, with his head on Christ's chest. St. John went with Peter to the palace of the high priest after Jesus was arrested -- but it was John alone among the Apostles who stayed with Christ during the Crucifixion. After the Resurrection, it was SS. John and Peter among the Apostles who ran to the empty tomb after being told by St. Mary Magdalen that He had risen. 

After the Ascension and Pentecost, St. John remained prominent, accompanying St. Peter when the lame man was healed in the Temple, being thrown into prison with St. Peter, and preaching with St. Peter in Samaria.

When Herod Agrippa I came to power and the Apostles were scattered, he is said to have gone to Asia Minor for a time, returning to Jerusalem by A.D. 51 and taking part in the "Council of Jerusalem" spoken of in Acts.

Under the reign of Domitian,  tradition relates that he was by order of the emperor  cast into a cauldron of boiling oil but came forth unhurt and was banished to the Greek island of Patmos -- a small (10 miles by 6 miles) volcanic island in the Aegean Sea, near the coast of Turkey, where the veil was lifted and he was granted the vision of the Heavenly Jerusalem which he recounted in his Apocalypse ("apocalypse" means "unveiling"). During the reign of Trajan, he returned to Ephesus where he lived to a very, very old age. He was the only one of the Apostles who wasn't martyred. 
St. John holding the poisoned cup

Though he wasn't martyred, it wasn't for his enemies' lack of trying. According to legend, he was served poisoned wine, but survived because he blessed the wine before he put it to his lips; the poison rose from the chalice in the shape of a serpent. In his happy memory, Catholics bring wine to church, which the priest blesses, turning it into a sacramental called the "Love of St. John." Catholics use this sacramental wine for special occasions throughout the year and to give to the sick. 
Blessing from the book:Christmas to Candlemas in a Catholic Home
(Free version online here from ETWN)

  Father: Lord Jesus Christ, Thou didst call Thyself the vine and Thy holy Apostles the branches; and out of all those who love Thee, Thou didst desire to make a good vineyard. Bless this wine and pour into it the might of Thy benediction so that every one who drinks or takes of it, may through the intercession of Thy beloved disciple, the holy Apostle and Evangelist John, be freed from every disease or attack of illness and obtain health of body and soul. Who livest and reignest forever.
All: Amen.
A toast to the love of St. John is then pledged by all the family. 

The craft I made for Pentecost a few years back gets used now for every Apostolic feast day.  For St. John's feast I put some of our Christmas candles in it and lit them for a pretty centerpiece.

St. John is the patron of:   Art dealers, authors, bookbinders and sellers, editors engravers, painters, printers, publishers and pretty much everything that has to do with publishing and printing books and art.  So naturally he would be the patron of Taos, New Mexico and its vibrant art community. Also Asia Minor and Umbria Italy.  His intercession is invoked against poison and burns as he was poisoned and burned and survived both!

He is also the patron of the Diocese of Cleveland, OH - my diocese. Diocese of Milwaukee, Wisconsin also claims him as patron. 

But most especially, he is the patron saint of friendship- today would be a great day to call a good friend, or write a note, or just hang out with a special friend and share a glass of wine , for the love of St. John!