March 2020

Greetings!

Spring is saying "not-quite-yet" to us as buds start to appear but cold evenings won't let winter go. Lent is in full swing, a time of active waiting, a time to prepare for the glories of the Resurrection of the Lord. You may be hitting your stride with your penances and sacrifices, or dropping the ball every once in a while. No matter what your prayer, fasting, and almsgiving looks like this season, God is pleased by humble and contrite hearts.

In the middle of this time of fasting and self-denial, we look forward to two great feasts this month. The feast of St. Joseph, husband of Mary and foster father of Jesus, falls on March 19. In the words of St. Thomas Aquinas, “Our holy patron St. Joseph has the power to assist us in all cases, in every necessity, in every undertaking.” He is a powerful intercessor for families and a beautiful model of holy masculinity and fatherhood - masculinity that is not forceful or even loud, but strong in gentleness and submissive to the will of God in all things.

The Annunciation is March 25, 9 months exactly before Christmas. When the angel Gabriel appeared to the Blessed Mother, telling her she would conceive the Son of God, he didn’t give her much information. She didn’t know her Son would be hunted by the king as a baby, or lost in the Temple 12 years later, or condemned to die a horrific death. But she consented, gave her fiat – “let it be done to me” – because she knew God had goodness in store, no matter what her life would look like after that moment.

Her fiat is not unlike our own wedding vows. When you said (or will say) “I do” to your beloved at the altar, you said “I do” to a life that will take shape beyond your own plans. We hope for health, a home, secure jobs, children – but don’t know if we will receive those things when we want them. Our “I do’s” unfold one moment at a time, in times of sickness, joy, difficulties, big decisions, small acts of love. But we can trust that, no matter what, the Lord has good things in store for us, even if it's not what we expected.

This newsletter is full of practical ways to live out Lent and celebrate the liturgical year. We hope you and your beloved find some inspiring ways to deepen your marriage this month.

Blessings,
The Marriage & Family Ministry Staff
Everyday sacrifices for Catholic couples
At the altar, spouses solemnly profess to lay their lives down for one another, even unto death. The call to Christ-like love is a high one, worth attention and contemplation. But what about action? The gravity of my wedding vows are beautiful to reflect upon, yet in all honesty, they sometimes leave me thinking, what now? That is, how, exactly am I being asked to live out these promises?
3 ways to prepare for being a first time parent
It’s happening, it's real now: Whether you’re over the moon already or walking with great trepidation (or honestly, a mixture of both), you have a baby on the way. Congratulations — you’ve got this!
Here are three things that might help you prepare for your new arrival and growing family.
12 ways to honor St. Joseph this month
Did you know that in the Catholic Church, each of the 12 months of the year has a devotional theme?For Catholics, March is the month devoted to St. Joseph, patron saint of workers, families, homes, and a happy death. Here are 12 ways you can align your family to St. Joseph this March.
Podcast: Made for Love: Praying as a Family
No one really teaches families how to pray together. They know they should, but they don’t necessarily know how. Today we’ll hear from some past guests about how they go about praying with their spouse and children . Features Bishop Milan Lach, SJ, Lindsay Schlegal, Dan Meola, David and Kate Dawson, Andy and Sara Sefranek, and Steve and Jacinta Splonkowski.
6 ways that practicing mercy can save your family
The glue that holds a family together is mercy.
God has a never-ending willingness to show mercy. If God’s mercy can save the world, it can certainly save our families. By practicing mercy within our relationships, we will not only survive but our love will grow stronger and stronger.
Here are six ways we can show mercy within our families.
Marriage Tip of the Month

Celebrate the feast of St. Joseph and the Annunciation with your family this month! You could adorn your house with flowers (lilies or roses), cook a fancy meal, or pray a special prayer - like the rosary or a novena - to St. Joseph and the Blessed Mother.