Sunday, June 1, is the Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Liturgical Year A, Cycle II. Saturday, May 31, is the feast of the Visitation of the Virgin Mary to Elizabeth. And Friday, May 30, is the feast of the Sacred Heart.

Parish offers ?Best Practices? from parishes.

In time for the big weekend that includes two feasts of ?Catholic action,? St. Michael?s in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis offers a way to get parishioners to volunteer.

?Whenever an individual or family signs up as a new parishioner,? says the pastor, Father Michael Becker, ?we put them on a group list for volunteering at our fall festival. Though each is expected to join our common effort, participation is not stringently enforced. It does give some relief to chairpersons, that every year they do not have to find hundreds of volunteers simply by their own persuasion. We have never heard a complaint.?

When new families or single parishioners join the parish they are placed into one of 33 groups. For the festival, every parishioner receives a mailing to remind them of their group number and inform them which event, activity or refreshment their group will be responsible for. More at the E-Priest website.


This Saturday is the Feast of the Visitation, a perfect day to say a House Rosary. That?s the name we have given to our practice of saying a Rosary in which each decade is prayed in a different room of the house. For the Joyful mysteries, it would work like this:

The Annunciation. Gather where mom?s maternity clothes are kept, or at a special prayer spot. ?We gather here for this mystery to remember that Mary was praying when the angel Gabriel appeared to her to announce that, with her consent, Jesus would be conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit.?

The Visitation. Gather in the kitchen. ?We gather here to remember that Mary?s first Christian action after the incarnation was helping Elizabeth in her kitchen and other household chores.?

The Nativity. Gather near a crib or where your Christmas things are kept. ?We gather here to remember when Jesus was a newborn baby.?

The Presentation. Gather in the playroom or bedroom. ?We gather here to remember that we must always present Jesus in the temple of our bodies through our actions.?

The Finding in the Temple. Gather in front of pictures of family/first Communions. ?We gather here to remember that we can always find Jesus in the tabernacle when we have lost him in our lives.? offers free Next Sunday Ideas.

Readings for Mass

Deuteronomy 11:18, 26-28; Psalm 31:2-4, 17, 25; Romans 3:21-25, 28; Matthew 7:21-27 offers free homily packs for priests.

Our Take

We?ve been busy for months with Lent, Easter, then the special Sundays that follow Pentecost. Those Sundays had many challenging things to say, but all the same, today?s readings have a ?vacation?s over, time to get serious again? feel.

Consider God?s words to Moses: ?I set before you here, this day, a blessing and a curse: a blessing for obeying the commandments of the Lord ? a curse if you do not obey the Commandments.?

If that sounds harsh, beware of thinking it?s just an Old Testament phenomenon. Jesus says the same thing in the Gospel: ?Not everyone who says to me, ?Lord, Lord,? will enter the Kingdom of heaven,? he says, ?but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.? He even lists all those things which might make someone seem to be his friends. Following the Commandments trumps them all.

The stark and stern words of today?s Gospel are crucially important because, without them, we lose three key things.

1. Morality. It?s easy to imagine that God is so much greater than us, he doesn?t care about what we do. But he loves us infinitely and wants us to become like him. When we refuse, we violate our must fundamental relationship.

2. Mercy. Mercy doesn?t make any sense without a strong sense of the horror of sin and God?s just response to sin.

3. Grace. The second reading makes clear that we are ?justified? or ?made able to act justly? by grace. Thus, the readings together call us to a radical dependence on God. If we avoid sin, it?s because we relied on our friendship with God. To sin is to reject friendship with God.

The Hoopeses are editorial directors of Faith & Family magazine (