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Ink Slingers Instagram Photo Challenge Lent Liturgical Year Rita

2017 Lent Photo Journey

2017 Lent Photo Journey
Lent is just a little over a week away and I’ll admit, I haven’t really begun thinking about the Lenten season. I’ve heard the announcements before Mass about the various Lenten offerings at our parish- the Bible studies, Lenten Mission, Parish Fish Fry and Stations of the Cross- but I have no idea what I’m doing for Lent. Well, no idea what I’m doing aside from the Catholic Sistas 2017 Lent Photo Journey.

I love taking (and looking at) photos, so the Catholic Sistas Lent Photo Journey is a perfect way to integrate something I already do daily (take photos) with the season of Lent. The Lent Photo Journey allows me to bring the Lenten season into my daily life, and encourages me to search for God in new and different ways as well.

I’m delighted to officially sharing the Catholic Sistas Instagram Lent Photo Journey space with some wonderful friends and sisters in Christ, AdrienneCeleste, CindyKristin and Rosemary (and find me here). And I invite y’all to join us in recognizing God’s presence in the every day things, people, and situations around us and snapping a photo or remembering a moment in our past that God has touched and finding a way to share that visually. I’m excited to see what the Holy Spirit has in store for us to share with each other in this Lenten Photo Journey together. Happy clicking!

How the 2017 Lent Photo Journey Works

• Each day has a pre-selected word associated with it. You snap a photo (or find a photo in your photo archives) related to that word and share it on social media. The photo does not have to be faith-themed. The goal of our Photo Journeys and Challenges are for us to see God in our everyday lives.

• When posting your photos on social media, use the hashtag #CSLentIPJ and any other appropriate hashtags (#ash, #trial, #Catholic, etc) with your Photo Journey photos. This allows us as Catholic Sistas as well as everyone else in the Catholic Sistas community to search Instagram and other social media platforms for others who are participating in the Photo Journey. (CSLentIPJ = Catholic Sistas Lent Instagram Photo Journey)

• The main social media platforms for the Lent Photo Journey are Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, but we’re present on many other platforms. Tag us with @CatholicSistas on INSTAGRAMPINTEREST and FACEBOOK, @Catholic_Sistas on TWITTER and +CatholicSistas on GOOGLE+. And if you’re blogging about your Lenten Photo Journey, link back to us or comment below with a link to your post.

• Download the 2017 CSLentIPJ Graphic for quick reference. Note that weekends are a different color to help visualize each week better. Also, after you download the graphic, share it with others and invite them to journey with us too! And consider using the LENTEN PHOTO-A-DAY JOURNEY PARTICIPANT GRAPHIC on your social media sites, such as a profile picture on Facebook or for promotion on Instagram.

2017 Lent Photo Journey

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Ink Slingers Instagram Photo Challenge Rita

2016 Advent Photo Challenge

csadvent2016

Advent begins in less than 1 week! At Catholic Sistas we love helping you prepare for and reflect on the liturgical seasons. Some people began preparing for Advent 6 weeks ago with the Christmas Shopping Challenge that we released last year, and others have taken time to review The Official 2016 Catholic Christmas Gift Guide and Giveaway, and enter the giveaway.

Another way we love preparing for and reflecting on the liturgical seasons is through our Advent and Lent Photo Challenges. As a visual person, I love the opportunity to explore, express and share my Advent season reflections and preparation for Christmas. And so I’m excited to again co-lead the 2016 Advent Photo Challenge.

Each Photo Challenge allows us to share in images and words how the Holy Spirit stirs our hearts, minds and souls in seeing God daily. Some of the words in the Photo Challenge word-of-the-day are relatively easy, and some of them are pretty darn hard. But that’s just like our relationship with God. Sometimes it’s easy to visualize God in our lives, and other times we must deeply reflect and consider how God is present in our lives. But that’s part of what makes a Photo Challenge a great opportunity for reflection in Advent and Lent.

And so I invite all our readers to join my fellow photo-happy friends, BRITTANYADRIENNEROSEMARYCINDY and KRISTIN (and find me HERE) in the 2016 Advent Photo Challenge.

Please know you don’t have to be part of the social media world to participate in the 2016 Advent Photo Challenge! While it’s definitely fun to share your photos and reflections with others, if the Advent Photo Challenge provides you with an opportunity to reflect on the season of Advent and prepare for Christmas, than that’s what counts.

To help you in your challenge, below you’ll find the whats, hows and hashtag info for joining the 2016 Advent Photo Challenge. I’m excited to get started on this photo challenge with y’all next week and to see how the Holy Spirit moves us all to reflect on the season of Advent and share our Catholic faith. Happy clicking (or touching your phone screen)!

How the 2016 Advent Photo Challenge Works

• Each day has a word associated with it. Snap a photo or find an old photo related to that word. The photo does not have to be faith-themed, as the goal of our photo challenges is for us to see God in our everyday lives.

• Use the hashtag #CSAdvent and any other appropriate hashtags (#wreath, #candle, #Catholic, etc) when you post your Photo Challenge photos. This allows us all to search Instagram and other social media platforms for others who are participating in the Photo Challenge. (CSAdvent = Catholic Sistas Advent)

• While our main platforms for the 2016 Advent Photo Challenge are Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, we are present on many other platforms. Tag us with @CatholicSistas on INSTAGRAMPINTEREST and FACEBOOK, @Catholic_Sistas on TWITTER and +CatholicSistas on GOOGLE+. And if you’re blogging about your Advent Photo Challenge, link back to us or comment below with a link to your post.

• Download the 2016 CSAdvent Graphic for quick reference. Note that the dates of the weekends are a different color to help visually break up the days. Be sure to share the graphic with others and invite them to join the challenge too!

cs-advent-2016

 

 

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Ink Slingers

Faithful Citizenship Decision 2016

American Flag idea

We are approximately 3 weeks away from what is arguably the most intense election cycle our country has ever dealt with. The intensity has cause divisions for some within their families, amongst their friends and within the workplace. I have seen social media bullying and name-calling over candidates and election issues. Many people I know, including many Catholics, and including myself, feel an internal, anxious struggle as we form our conscience surrounding the issues and the candidates. And so before I even touch the subject of faithful citizenship and politics, I ask you to take a moment to quiet your mind, take a deep breath, and pray:

Lord God, as the election approaches,
we seek to better understand the issues and concerns that confront our city, state, and country,
and how the Gospel compels us to respond as faithful citizens in our community.
We ask for eyes that are free from blindness
so that we might see each other as brothers and sisters,
one and equal in dignity,
especially those who are victims of abuse and violence, deceit and poverty.
We ask for ears that will hear the cries of children unborn and those abandoned,
Men and women oppressed because of race or creed, religion or gender.
We ask for minds and hearts that are open to hearing the voice of leaders who will bring us closer to your Kingdom.
We pray for discernment
so that we may choose leaders who hear your Word,
live your love,
and keep in the ways of your truth
as they follow in the steps of Jesus and his Apostles
and guide us to your Kingdom of justice and peace.
We ask this in the name of your Son Jesus Christ and through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Amen.
Prayer Before An Election, US Conference of Catholic Bishops

Sent Into the World

As Jesus Christ the Son was sent into the world by God the Father, so Christ sends us into the world (John 17:18). Christ has sent us to share God and to love and care for our neighbor. And so in a nation such as the United States, where we are blessed with the opportunity to have a voice in politics, we have a responsibility to live our Catholic faith at all times, including politics.

Living our faith is difficult in many circumstances and situations in our lives, as our sinful human nature causes us to struggle. Yet we find our strength in Christ. We find ourselves nourished by His Church and we become empowered by the sacraments of Eucharist and Reconciliation to form our consciences to be strong Catholics living in the world.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us that: [The] conscience must be informed and moral judgment enlightened. A well-formed conscience is upright and truthful. It formulates its judgments according to reason, in conformity with the true good willed by the wisdom of the Creator. The education of conscience is indispensable for human beings who are subjected to negative influences and tempted by sin to prefer their own judgment and to reject authoritative teachings” (CCC #1783).

And it is with these well-formed consciences that we are called to make decisions in the world, including in politics. Because when “Faced with a moral choice, conscience can make either a right judgment in accordance with reason and the divine law or, on the contrary, an erroneous judgment that departs from them” (CCC #1786).

To help us form our consciences, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops revised their 2007 document, Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship: A Call to Political Responsibility from the Catholic Bishops of the United States, in November 2015. This 37-page document is meant to assist us in discerning our political decisions as a teaching document on the political responsibility of Catholics in the United States. It is meant not to tell us who to vote for. It is meant to aid us in forming our consciences in accordance with God’s Truth. This document has been updated to include Pope Benedict XVI’s encyclical, Caritas in Veritate, and Pope Francis’ encyclicals, Evangelii Gaudium and Laudato Si’, as well as to address recent domestic and foreign policies such as abortion, physician assisted suicide, the redefinition of marriage, ecological and environmental concerns, deadly attacks on Christians and religious minorities, religious freedom, economic policies, immigration and the refugee crisis and wars, terror and violence.

Sometimes people question if it’s appropriate for the Church to play a role in politics. However, because the Church is obligated to care for Her people, She has an obligation to teach and share moral truths that shape us in our entirety, not just the life we live when we are on parish property. Our entire selves, and at all times.

 

Political Relativism vs. Faithful Citizenship

We live in a relativistic society that tells us that ‘what is right for you is right for you and what is right for me is right for me, and that’s all okay because there’s nothing that’s absolutely right.’ 

This mindset carries over into specific political issues, even for Catholics, leading us to give more weight to some political issues over others. Except that as Catholics, we know that this mindset often causes the replacement of Truth with opinion. It becomes personal preferences swayed by our sinful nature instead of allowing ourselves to make morally conscious decisions in accordance with our faith. And as People of God we have “…the right to act in conscience and in freedom so as personally to make moral decisions. ‘He [man] must not be forced to act contrary to his conscience. Nor must he be prevented from acting according to his conscience, especially in religious matters’ ” (CCC #1782).

Politically, we are sometimes confronted with situations in which making a moral decision is difficult, even with a well-formed conscience. The Catechism of the Catholic Church has guidelines to help us in these situations too:

      Man is sometimes confronted by situations that make moral judgments less assured and decision       
      difficult. But he must always seriously seek what is right and good and discern the will of God
      expressed in divine law. To this purpose, man strives to interpret the data of experience and the
      signs of the times assisted by the virtue of prudence, by the advice of competent people, and by the
      help of the Holy Spirit and his gifts. Some rules apply in every case:
            —One may never do evil so that good may result from it;
            —the Golden Rule: “Whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them.”
            —charity always proceeds by way of respect for one’s neighbor and his conscience: “Thus             
                  sinning against your brethren and wounding their conscience . . . you sin against Christ.”
      Therefore “it is right not to . . . do anything that makes your brother stumble.”
      #1787-1789

And from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops document, Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship: A Call to Political Responsibility from the Catholic Bishops of the United States:

      Aided by the virtue of prudence in the exercise of well-formed consciences, Catholics are called to             
      make practical judgments regarding good and evil choices in the political arena. There are some
      things we must never do, as individuals or as a society, because they are always incompatible
      with love of God and neighbor. Such actions are so deeply flawed that they are always opposed to
      the authentic good of persons. These are called “intrinsically evil” actions. They must always be
      rejected and opposed and must never be supported or condoned… It is a mistake with grave
      moral consequences to treat the destruction of innocent human life merely as a matter of
      individual choice… The right to life implies and is linked to other human rights—to the basic goods
      that every human person needs to live and thrive. All the life issues are connected… St. Pope John             
      Paul II explained the importance of being true to fundamental Church teachings: ‘Above all, the
      common outcry, which is justly made on behalf of human rights— for example, the right to health,
      to home, to work, to family, to culture—is false and illusory if the right to life, the most basic and
      fundamental right and the condition for all other personal rights, is not defended with maximum
      determination’ (Christifideles Laici, no. 38).

      #21, 22, 25, 26

Living our faith as Catholics and living in the world are not easy. And as we make our decisions for the November 2016 election, as we are called to do for all things, we must prayerfully discern our voting decisions. And so to close, I ask you to pray daily with me and many others, for all our currently elected officials, candidates for office in November and ballot issues to be voted on.

 

– – – – – – – – – –
Interested in videos or audio on Faithful Citizenship? Looking for a novena for the election? Need materials to discuss the election and Faithful Citizenship with children, teens or other adults? Visit the USCCB Faithful Citizenship website.

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Ink Slingers Instagram Photo Challenge Lent Liturgical Year Rita

2016 Lent Photo Journey

2016 Lent Photo Journey

TWO WEEKS until Lent. Can you believe it?! It feels like Christmas and Advent just ended. And I’m just getting into the swing of Ordinary Time and all things green in the liturgy. But now, especially thanks to Misty’s post last week, Your 2016 Handy-Dandy List of Lenten Resources, I find myself thinking of my 2016 Lenten Sacrifices and Commitments. So this past Sunday my husband and I signed up for a 6-week study program on prayer at our parish for Lent. And today I’m thinking about one of my favorite liturgical season traditions at Catholic Sistas, our Photo Journeys and inviting you to join in on the fun and reflection.

Through each Photo Journey together we share how the Holy Spirit moves us in visualizing God in our lives to authentically share our Catholic faith through image and word. Sometimes it’s easy to visualize God in our lives through the Photo a Day Challenge word and other times we’re pushed to consider how God makes that word present in our lives. But that’s part of what makes a Photo Journey together so fruitful for Lent and Advent.

So who’s in for our 2016 Lent Photo Journey?! I’m delighted to co-lead this Photo Journey with my fellow photo-happy friends, Brittany, Adrienne, Rosemary, Mary, Cindy and Kristin (and find me here). To help you in your journey, below you’ll find the whats, hows and hashtags for joining the 2016 Lent Photo Journey. I’m excited to get started on this photo journey with y’all in two weeks and to see how the Holy Spirit moves us all to reflect on and share our Catholic faith this Lent. Happy clicking (or touching your phone screen)!

How the 2016 Lent Photo Journey Works

• Each day has a word associated with it. Share a photo related to that word, whether the photo is overtly faith-themed or not. The goal is for us to see God in our everyday lives.

• Use the hashtag #CSLentIPJ and any other appropriate hashtags (#gray, #test, #Catholic, etc) when you post your Photo Journey photos. This allows us all to search Instagram and other social media platforms for others who are participating in the Photo Journey. (CSLentIPJ = Catholic Sistas Lent Instagram Photo Journey)

• The main social media platforms for the Lent Photo Journey are Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, but we’re present on many other platforms. Tag us with @CatholicSistas on Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook, @Catholic_Sistas on Twitter and +CatholicSistas on Google+. And if you’re blogging about your Lenten Photo Journey, link back to us or comment below with a link to your post.

• Download the 2016 CSLentIPJ graphic for quick reference. Note that weekends are a different color. Oh, and after you download it, share it with others and invite them to journey with us too! And consider using the Lenten Photo-A-Day Journey Participant graphic on your social media sites, such as a profile picture on Facebook or for promotion on Instagram.

#CSLENTIPJ.2016CSLentParticipant