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September 09, 2009
 
Angels All Around Us
 
 
Faith Formation Update continues to offer free monthly encouragement and direction for catechetical ministry within the classroom and beyond. I’m Jeanne Hunt. In each issue I offer a brief starter and my “ Every Family” column. My co-worker and fellow religious educator Joan McKamey offers media resources and ideas in her “ Seen and Heard” column. Our co-worker Angela Glassmeyer suggests other faith formation resources for adults in her column, “Sowing Sampler.”

September and early October brings the feasts of the angels. It gives us an opportunity to investigate these mystical beings with which we share creation and to share the wonder. Angels are with us, let’s teach their story.
—Jeanne Hunt
 
     
 
 
The Angel Tradition
 
 
Angels are not cute, little, flying babies or fantasy figures. The Church teaches that angels are very real and are with us as guides, protectors and teachers. This time of year we celebrate the feast days of guardian angels (October 2) and the archangels (September 29). These feasts give a catechist the occasion to share with students the doctrine of angels and to inspire the class to get to know their guardians. Primary students can get into the act by drawing a picture of their guardian angels and naming them (my angel’s name is Harriet). Older students can learn the beautiful prayers we say to our angels and begin a lifelong relationship with St. Michael, St. Raphael and St. Gabriel. This Church teaching is a real comfort to children in dark times and joyful times.
 
     
Online Catalog
 
 
Angels Watching Over Me, My Lord!
 
 
Mike Aquilina gives us a place to begin to understand angels in Angels of God: The Bible, the Church and the Heavenly Host. He shows us how to get to know our guardian angel and what these guides mean to us. The belief in angels is not just for kids. While many might dismiss this ancient Church teaching as superstition, those of us who have met a few angelic spirits along the journey know different. The presence of heavenly spirits is a very real part of the Scriptures. The Church teaches us that in the heavenly realm angels and human beings share space. These angels play a very real and powerful role in the daily drama of life. Aquilina does a fine job presenting the basis for this belief. Drawing on Scripture, the words of the saints and Church teaching, he demonstrates that connecting with angels is a powerful way to grow in holiness. Children and adults can begin to understand that life is more than it appears and that angels are right in the midst of life to guide us to eternity. Whether you are a catechist or just want to know more about your ever-present angel companion, Angels of God is a real treat for this season of angels and its feasts.
 
     
Online Catalog
 
 
Angels We Have Heard…on Audiobook
 
 
Reminders of angels are all around me. My parish is St. Michael the Archangel, and a neighboring parish with whom we share a pastor is Holy Guardian Angels. Yet, I don’t spend much time thinking about angels in my everyday life.
When I taught a junior-high religion class (at Guardian Angels School), a student asked about using “Ouija” boards. I explained that, just as there are good angels, there are also evil ones. “Ouija” is a combination of the French and German words for “yes.” I cautioned them about Ouija boards since using them expresses openness (“yes”) to both good and bad angels. What’s done in innocent fun doesn’t always remain that way.
While we believe in a spiritual realm, most of us are more occupied with the tangible here and now of our daily lives. Yet we can’t help but acknowledge the forces of evil in our lives. I’ve started using the expression “wrestling with the devil” when I’m struggling with a negative attitude or thought.
Some people today more literally wrestle with demons—through demonic possession or as exorcists. A new book The Rite: The Making of a Modern Exorcist explores one modern priest’s training and experience as an exorcist. His experience changed his understanding of the nature of evil and human suffering. I’ve selected a short clip about angels from The Rite to share with you (RealMedia | Windows Media). Like us, angels are given the freedom to choose evil or good. Add this audiobook to your parish lending library. In a culture that sometimes struggles to name any action as objectively and morally wrong, a book that reminds us of the power of evil—and of the power of good over evil—is of great value.
 
     
Franciscan Radio
 
Connect With Faith Through Franciscan Radio
 
 
Are you getting a little tired of television reruns and stale radio talk shows? Well, I recently tuned in to Franciscan Radio on my computer and was surprised to hear something to which was worthwhile to listen. Franciscan Radio’s August 24th episode of American Catholic Radio offered a number of inspiring and informative highlights, including:the “Living Faith” segment featuring Sharon Greenberg, who was anointed while in surgery after giving birth; “Ask a Franciscan” bringing Father Hilarion Kistner, O.F.M., to answer questions about the Bible; “Minute Meditations” drawing from The Awesome Mercy of God by Claretian Missionary Father John H. Hampsch; and, in “Marriage Moment,” nationally-known marriage ministers, retreat leaders, educators and motivational speakers Andrew and Terri Lyke discussing how marriage reflects the paschal mystery.
Listening to Franciscan Radio is an easy way to stay connected with some real good information and inspiration about our faith. The best part is that all it takes is a click of a mouse.
 
     
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