Update: Forgot to mention we are having a yard sale tomorrow to see if we can pay for some of that propone we need to heat Bethany. If you are in the area, stop buy (get it?)... And I have finally updated the Catholic Laity blog with a new post about the book, what's wrong with the world, st. blogs, etc. Check it out...
We had an early cold spell this week. Of course we were again unprepared. The propane tank was empty and I hadn't finished winterizing (replacing broken/missing window panes, putting up new curtain rods for heavier curtains, etc. and providing more shelter to some of the animals) It was worse last year. The cold spell was later, mid-November, but much more severe than this week.
Wednesday night we took a break from our regular CCD format as each child in the whole program (K-HS) met together to make a presentation on a saint in anticipation of the Holy Day next week. The parish will have an All Saints Day celebration on the 1st also; after the 9:00 AM Mass, there will be a breakfast, followed by costumed saint presentations by the homeschooled children of the parish.
There are discussions in various places recently about Catholic Land Use and Community (here and here and here.) I will weigh in simply on practical experience here. Growing up in a suburb of Boston and attending the parish school, the community was real I think. But this was before the trend to migrate around the country set in. The more migration (which I am guilty of) the less community, especially in those big surburban parishes (and larger urban parishes). We lived 10 years in Columbia and were members of St. Joseph's parish (~ 2,000 families). We have been at St. Catherine's (~200 families) for a little more than a year. Yet, in that short time I think we know more people and spend more time at the parish than we did at good St. Joseph's. Since there is only one Mass on Sundays, there is no rush to move people in and out of the parking lot. The kids say, "At St. Catherine's there is always a party going on!". For example, once a month we have a full dinner after Sunday Mass. After First Friday Mass we have a full breakfast. Our pastor is accessible and present at almost all functions. The parents and kids can get to know him very well. Bigger parishes with more money may have more "ministries", larger choirs, better organs, etc. , but I think the small country type parish helps you live your Catholicism better. The downside is that sometimes there is not the critical mass to get some projects done or start some apostolates. (We had a men's prayer group at St. Joseph's for example. 15 or so men meeting once a week 6:30 AM for the Liturgy of the Hours and discussion, the Mass. At St. Catherine's, because of the distance traveled and small number of families, it has been difficult to duplicate this type of group effort.)
From Bethany, the small holding in Bethune... Oremus pro invicem!