NORDIC DIGITAL FAMILY DAYS
Dear Catholic families in our Nordic countries!
Our Bishops had invited us all to meet in Norway this year for the Nordic Family Days from 2a1-24 May. Many of you had registered for the event, and a range of faith celebrations and family activities had been prepared. Unfortunately the Corona pandemic made this encounter impossible and it had to be cancelled.
For the past two months we have all been confined to our House Churches. Even if our churches now slowly have started to reopen for the celebration of the Eucharist – Deo gratias! – we know that for a long time still, we will have to rely on the House Churches – our families – to live and transmit our faith in Christ.
So, instead of meeting only a small percentage of you this spring, our Planning Team here in Norway thought it would be an idea to present all Catholic families in the Nordic countries with a small bouquet of Catholic resources for families. Therefore we have created a web page which all of you are welcome to visit and where you can fetch some inspiration for your life as Christian families.
This is a very small and primitive beginning, made hurriedly under demanding conditions, but hopefully we will be able to develop together a platform where we can meet and strengthen each other in our faith in Jesus Christ, whether we live in Iceland, Finland, Denmark, Sweden or Norway.
Praying that the Holy Family may protect us all and keep our faith alive,
the Norwegian Planning Team greets you all.
LOVE IN THE FAMILY – STRENGTH FOR THE CHURCH
Greetings from bishop Berislav Grgić
Chairman of the Nordic Catholic Family Council
I am risen and again am I with you. Alleluia!
Dear sisters and brothers!
The Cross and Easter, our rescue – then, now and always. We must not fear. We must remain humble. We mustn’t only wash our hands, but also cleanse our hearts. For the past weeks – in so many countries, also in our Nordic countries – so much sorrow, pain, illness and so many who have died due to the Coronavirus. We know that many people die all the time, but now it is different, now almost none of us remains unmoved, or without fear. Death is not other people’s death; the Coronavirus can also become our death.
However, we are not afraid. The Church offers us a word about illness, sorrow and death; she tells us: “Yet it was our pain that he bore, our sufferings he endured. We thought of him as stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted, but he was pierced for our sins, crushed for our iniquity. He bore the punishment that makes us whole, by his wounds we were healed” (Isa 53: 4-5).
Concerning death the Church goes on: “None of us lives for oneself, and no one dies for oneself. For if we live, we live for the Lord, and if we die, we die for the Lord; so then, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s” (Rom 14:7-8). We belong to the Lord, who then can separate us from the love of Christ? Anguish, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril, the sword – or the Coronavirus?
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has similarly been tested in every way, yet without sin” (Heb 4:15).
When we in not so long time again can receive the Lord in the Holy Eucharist, we must not forget that eating the Lord’s Body and drinking his Blood – this is receiving Holy Communion, the Eucharist – does not only signify that we receive the Body and Blood of Christ; Holy Communion also means to become conscious that the Body of Christ is really present not only in the bread and the wine, but also in the little ones, the sick and the abandoned.
St. Paul admonished the Corinthians against the following sins: discord and unworthy participation in the breaking of the bread. These sins did not mean that the Corinthians did not believe in Christ’s real presence in the Eucharist, but that they lived selfishly, without care for their neighbour. When somebody participated in the breaking of the bread and ate the Lord’s Body without caring for his most vulnerable and weakest sisters or brothers, who – abandoned, and without any to care for or help them – would become sick and die.
Let us listen to this admonition, let us love Jesus, and remember that every act of pure love is of greater worth than anything else.
You are risen and with us again, Alleluia!
Bishop Berislav Grgić
Jeg er oppstanden og atter er jeg hos deg. Halleluja!
Kjære søstre og brødre!
Korset og påsken, vår redning – den gang, nå og alltid. Vi må ikke bli redde. Vi må forbli ydmyke. Vi må ikke bare vaske hendene, men også rense hjertene. I de siste uker – i så mange land, også i Norge – så mye sorg og smerte, sykdom og mange døde på grunn av koronaviruset. Vi vet at mange dør hele tiden, men nå er det annerledes, nå er nesten ingen av oss uberørt, uten angst. Døden er ikke de andres død, koronavirusdøden kan bli også vår død.
Men, vi er ikke redde. Kirken har ett ord om sykdom, smerte og død, hun sier til oss: «Sannelig, våre sykdommer tok han, våre smerter bar han. Vi tenkte: Han er rammet, slått av Gud og plaget. Men han ble såret for våre lovbrudd, knust for våre synder. Straffen lå på ham, vi fikk fred, ved hans sår ble vi helbredet» (Jes 53, 4-5).
Om døden sier hun videre: «For ingen av oss lever for seg selv, og ingen dør for seg selv. Om vi lever, så lever vi for Herren, og om vi dør, så dør vi for Herren. Enten vi da lever eller dør, hører vi Herren til» (Rom 14,7-8). Vi hører Herren til, hvem kan da skille oss fra Kristi kjærlighet? Nød, angst, forfølgelse, sult, nakenhet, fare, sverd – eller koronavirus?
«For vi har ikke en øversteprest som ikke kan lide med oss i vår svakhet, men en som er prøvet i alt på samme måte som vi, men uten synd» (Hebr 4,15).
Når vi om ikke så lenge igjen skal få motta Herren i Den hellige eukaristi, må vi ikke glemme at det å ete Herrens legeme og drikke hans blod, at Nattverd, Eukaristi, ikke bare betyr å motta Kristi legeme og blod, Nattverd betyr også å bli seg bevisst, å erkjenne at Kristi legeme er reelt nærværende ikke bare i brødet og vinen, men også i de små, de syke og de forlatte.
Den hellige Paulus formante i sin tid korinterne mot disse synder: splittelse og uverdig deltakelse i brødsbrytelsen. Disse syndene innebar ikke at de (korinterne) ikke trodde på Kristi nærvær i Eukaristien, men at de levde selvisk, uten omsorg for sine nærmeste. Noen deltok i brødsbrytelsen og spiste Herrens legeme uten omsorg for sine mest utsatte og svakeste søstre og brødre, som – forlatt, uten stell og hjelp – ble syke og døde.
La oss være lydhøre for denne formaningen, la oss elske Jesus, og huske at enhver akt av ren kjærlighet er av større verdi enn alt annet.
Du er oppstanden og atter hos oss, halleluja!
Biskop Berislav Grgić
Anders Cardinal Arborelius
Every family is a sign of something else, or rather of Someone else. The communion of the family gives us an idea, however remote, of the communion in God himself. God who is a communion between the Father and the Son in the unity of the Holy Spirit. Actually, everything created can help us to get a glimpse of the God who created it. As Christians it is very important for us to try to see and experience God’s presence in the created reality. We live in a sacramental existence, where the signs of the hidden God are to be found everywhere. But we have to learn to look upon reality with the eyes of faith in order to realize this. Then we will by force learn to love this hidden God who in his immense mercy has given us so many tokens and signs of his immeasurable love. Yea, God is love. His very existence is a communion of eternal love. This knowledge will help us to love his creation, because everything he creates is good and needs to be cherished. This all-encompassing love gives us hope and confidence whatever life brings us.
When we look upon family as a sign of God, everything will change. Then we realize that God wants every family to reflect his own mystery. The family is an evangelizing reality that can help us to grow closer to God. Especially today when we live in an individualistic – and simultaneously collective – society, where loneliness and isolation can be so hard to put up with. Every family, and especially a Christian family, is a kind of sacrament of the Holy Trinity. On the level of creation, every family shows us the Creator’s profound plan. Man and woman together may take part in God’s creative power and bring forth new life. Their mutual love is fruitful and life-giving. On the level of salvation and grace this becomes even more evident. Every Christian family may partake in God’s interior mystery of everlasting life and love. Marriage is a sacrament where man and woman transmit God’s love between themselves. Their love brings forth new love, new life. That’s why marriage and family must be a school of love, faith and hope.
When we look upon the notion of family in this light of revelation, we gradually grow more humble and more aware of our human weakness. Every Christian family must also be aware of their shortcomings and deficiencies. They know that the ideal is so august and that the reality is so frail and even shabby. But at the same time, I hope that they will remember that Jesus came for sinners, for the poor and needy. This realistic acceptance of our limits is also a grace, a gift of God. Only when we as a family accept our weakness is it possible to be transformed by God and receive his pardon and grace. That’s also the reason why mutual pardon is so important in a family. To forgive each other is a daily task. Parents who can ask their children to forgive them can teach them more than they can ever understand. To forgive and be forgiven is an integral part of the Gospel. So when we speak of life in a Christian family, forgiveness is the starting-point. Jesus came to this world in order to forgive sinners. God’s immense mercy and love is shown to us when Jesus could forgive those who killed him.
When we look upon the family as a school or a domestic church, this means that the Gospel has to be lived, realized and shown in the drab everyday-life as it is. It becomes quite thrilling, when we look upon every day as a possibility to illustrate the Gospel through what we do and experience during that day. The day has to start with prayer in order to help us to remember this fact. It is not so easy to gather all the family for morning-prayer. But if we have some imagination we can always find some little moment when we make the sign of the cross and entrust the day to God’s providence: “I offer my day to you, o Lord”. During the day we can try to renew this initial prayer, at meals, by bus or when shopping, together or alone. We pray for those who go to school or to work. We love those who are absent and through our intercession for them they become present to us, even if we do not see them. The family is a school where we learn to pray together. The children learn from their parents to have this deep trust in God and then they will turn to him quite naturally also during the day. Every family has to find its special way of praying together.
It is easier to grow in faith when we are used to pray. To pray means to have infinite confidence in God. When we have grown into this profound trust of God, then we also know more about God. During our entire life we can grow in faith. There is always something new to learn about God. The family is a domestic church where our faith can thrive. But we also need Holy Church and its worship in order to be rooted in faith. If the children can learn to look upon the church as their spiritual home where God is always waiting for them, it will become their great joy to go to church. If there is an atmosphere of love at home where God’s presence is experienced, the atmosphere of the church as a place of worship and adoration can be experienced also by children. At home they learn to receive God’s love through their parents, and then they have to be informed that the parents receive God’s love together at church. The liturgy of the Church becomes more and more necessary in order to grow in faith and charity together as a family. When children learn to regard the Church as the family of God, they will see the connection between their own family and the Church.
Jesus came to the world in order to proclaim the Good News to the poor. Every family has to be open to the poor, in one way or the other. If love is true, then it has to be open to the poor. The children have to learn this compassion for the poor and the sick, otherwise there is a risk that they will only think of their own benefit and material wealth. Of course, every family has to find its own way to experience the wonderful grace of being able to serve those in need. And if the family itself is poor, there are always those who are even poorer than they are themselves. When we read about the saints we can often see that they learnt to help and serve the poor already during their childhood. To have a compassionate heart as the Sacred Heart of Jesus is an immense grace. In family-life we can learn this already as children. If we have not learnt it during childhood, we might never learn it.
Still, there is always hope. The art of hope is ever so necessary in our secular world. Real hope is always eschatological, because it helps us to have our heart above by the Lord. Children need to learn this openness for heaven, for eternity, for the resurrection. The family has to reflect something of heaven, of God’s eternal grace and glory. As long as we have this living faith in God’s glorious eternity, no suffering and loss can destroy our hope. In a family, this hope is so wonderful and it will help the child when it becomes confronted with all kinds of hardships and bad luck. Hope has many aspects. Today many young people are afraid of the future because of war and climate crisis. The family must take these worries seriously and help them to become aware of their responsibility on the global level. In prayer they can learn to grow in hope for the future of the world.
We speak about faith, hope, and charity as theological virtues. They binds us closer to God and makes us live in a constant relationship and dialogue with God. The life in the family has to reflect this constant relationship with God that fills our heart with joy whatever happens. It is one of the most important tasks of a family to transmit this hope to the young ones who grow up. In a secular surrounding they need this hope badly in order to remain faithful to the Lord. In the ordinary school they will not learn the art of faith, hope, and love. The family is needed by every child in order to help it to grow in these virtues. This life is always dynamical. It can develop more and more during our entire life. But if it did not start in our family-life together, it is very hard for us to start on our own. Still, we can always return to the Lord, who is always waiting for his children. God has faith in us. God has love for us. God hopes that we will come back to him and remain with him for ever and ever. The family is meant to be the school where we learn how to use these theological virtues. The Church can help us to see the immense value and grace of being and becoming a family, where God’s love imbues everyone and everything.
Theology of the Body for Youth
with sr. Sofie
Prayers and songs
PRAYING THE ROSARY AS A FAMILY
Choose a quiet place in your home, where all can feel relaxed and easily settle down. If you have a crucifix and or an image of Our Lady there, you may light a candle before it to mark that you are gathered to honour God with your prayer. Encourage all family members to make silence in their minds and hearts.
Make the sign of the Cross
You may start by saying a short prayer to the Holy Spirit, e.g. this abbreviated version of the Come Holy Spirit:
Come Holy Spirit, fill our hearts and kindle in them the fire of your love.
Sing a simple hymn in honour of Our Lady, e.g. “As I kneel before you” or a translated version of “Ave Maris Stella”.
The Rosary presents the different stages of Jesus’ life to us according to the Gospels. Explain to the children that when we pray the Rosary we reflect on important moments in the life of Jesus through the loving heart of his Mother Mary, Our Lady. She will help us to love Jesus more and more.
Jesus has promised us: “Again, I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matt 18,19-20). When we pray together as a family, Jesus is here with us, and so is his Mother, the Virgin Mary. She is listening attentively to our hearts’ deepest needs and will help us to pray well.
Each family member can then be invited to present his or her intention, but it is perfectly ok that the intention remains a secret between the one who is praying and God.
How to pray the Rosary
Start at the crucifix and recite the Apostle’s Creed, then pray an Our Father, 3 Hail Marys and the Glory Be. You may include the Fatima Prayer. Then announce the First Mystery.
You may pray one decade of the Rosary, or the number of decades you think your children are able to pray without feeling that prayer is a burden. Choose one of the mysteries of the weekday that seems most proper to your family’s needs that day.
You may introduce each mystery with a few explaining words about what Jesus and Mary experience in that special moment of Jesus’ life or by reading the Bible verses related to it.
Each mystery consists of 1 Our Father, 10 Hail Mary and Glory followed by the optional Fatima prayer O, My Jesus.
You may let each family member pray one Hail Mary in turn – or let each lead a whole mystery when he/she are able to.
Pray the Hail, Holy Queen all together.
Sing a hymn to Our Lady, e.g. the “Ave, Ave” used in Lourdes and Fatima.
On certain occasions you may want to include Pope Francis’ Act of Entrustment to Mary:
You, parents, might also like to read St. John Paul II’s Apostolic Letter from 2002, Rosarium Virginis Mariae, where he introduces the Luminous Mysteries:
THE PRAYERS OF THE ROSARY
The Apostles’ Creed
I believe in God,
the Father Almighty,
Creator of Heaven and earth;
and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, Our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended into hell;
On the third day He rose again from the dead;
He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
from there He will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the Holy Catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting.
Who art in heaven,
hallowed be Thy name;
Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee,
blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
Glory be to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
The Fatima Prayer (optional)
O my Jesus, have mercy on us. Forgive us our sins. Save us from the fires of hell.
Take all souls into heaven, especially, those most in need of thy mercy. Amen.
Hail Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope.
To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve;
To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears.
Turn then, most gracious Advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us
and after this our exile show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary!
V: Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God
R: That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let us pray: God, whose only begotten Son, by His life, death, and resurrection, has purchased for us the rewards of eternal salvation. Grant, we beseech Thee, that while meditating on these mysteries of the most holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, that we may imitate what they contain and obtain what they promise, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
THE MYSTERIES OF THE ROSARY
The Joyful Mysteries (Mondays and Saturdays)
1 The Annunciation (Luke 1:26–38)
2 The Visitation (Luke 1:39–56)
3 The Nativity (Luke 2:1–21)
4 The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple (Luke 2:22–38)
5 The Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple (Luke 2:41–52)
The Sorrowful Mysteries (Tuesdays and Fridays)
1 The Agony of Jesus in the Garden (Luke 22:39-44)
2 The Scourging at the Pillar (John 19,1)
3 The Crowning with Thorns (John 19,2–3)
4 The Carrying of the Cross (John 19,17))
5 The Crucifixion (John 19, 18–37)).
The Glorious Mysteries (Wednesdays and Sundays)
1 The Resurrection (John 20:1–10)
2 The Ascension (Luke 24:36–53)
3 The Descent of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1–12)
4 The Assumption of Mary, the Mother of God, into heaven (Revelation 11, 19–12,1)
5 The Coronation of Mary in heaven. (Revelation 2, 10b)
The Mysteries of Light or Luminous Mysteries (Thursdays), added by St. John Paul II in 2002
1 The Baptism in the River Jordan (Matthew 3:13–16)
2 The Wedding Feast at Cana (John 2:1–11)
3 The Preaching of the coming of the Kingdom of God (Mark 1:14–15)
4 The Transfiguration (Luke 9, 28-36)
5 The Institution of the Holy Eucharist (Luke 22, 14-20)
Adoremus – Playlist
LITANY FOR MARRIAGES
Lord, have mercy Lord, have mercy
Christ, have mercy Christ, have mercy
Lord, have mercy Lord, have mercy
God, the Father of heaven Have mercy on us
God the Son, Redeemer of the world Have mercy on us
God Holy Spirit Have mercy on us
Holy Trinity, one God Have mercy on us
That we through love may be a gift for each other
Lord, Triune God, and all saints, come to our aid
That we in everything may be loyal to each other as spouses
That we always will nourish our love so that it will mature
That we every day must die away from ourselves and live for each other as spouses
That we by being one body may not be characterized by egoism, but will live the chastity of marriage
That we may never be unnecessarily apart from each other
That we may find joy in each other’s company
That we may not judge each other
That we may forgive each other
That we will be understanding towards each other
That our sincerity in marriage will help us avoid days marked by indifference
That we in our diversity of sex may experience unity
That we will show our fidelity by listening attentively to each other
That we may share our hope with each other
That we may appreciate the goods we have, and be grateful for them
That we humbly will acknowledge our weaknesses and support each other in surmounting them
That we may never lack eagerness and maturity when taking part in our daily common prayer
That we take upon us the responsibility for the children God may give us
That our home should be characterized by warmth, peace, mutual care and hospitality
That we should be grateful for the mystery of love
That we should show that love is both a gift and a task
That our love, our sincerity and fidelity should protect us against all temptations
That our love, truthfulness and fidelity should be the joy of our conjugal life
That we may live in love, truthfulness and fidelity until death do us part
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world Spare us, O Lord
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world Graciously hear us, O Lord
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world Have mercy on us.
God, you said: “It is not good for the man to be alone”
and instituted the sacred union between man and woman.
Grant marriage your almighty support
and lead all spouses to everlasting happiness.
as in the wedding of Cana,
transform our struggles and difficulties into joy,
as we live as gifts for each other.
Let us pray:
God, eternal love, in the beginning you created man in your image,
male and female you created them,
you gave them yourself, your unity and your harmony.
We pray: Grant that we, united in mutual love,
may imitate you, our Creator, in our words and our gestures,
so that we love each other with unselfish love,
help each other in everything,
support each other and never are in conflict with each other.
May we carry the image of love in our hearts –
of that love which gives itself from the beginnings and loves until the end.
Adapted from the Litany for Marriages written by the Carmel “Totus Tuus”, Tromsø.
Suggestions for a Family Movie Night
Catholic resources in Scandinavia
READ MORE ABOUT THE RESOURCES FROM THE PASTORAL AGENTS
CATHOLICA PUBLISHING HOUSE – Here is a link to our blog, we have tried to have a quarantine-perspective lately: https://catholica.se/blog
To make it easier for parents to help children prepare for confession we have made available a digital version of the chapter on confession from our prayerbook for children: https://catholica.se/img/cms/LarMigAttBe_Bikt.pdf (Parents/Children)
KATOLSKA PEDAGOGISKA NÄMNDEN
Respekt is a Catholic movement in Sweden working to promote the inviolable dignity of the human being, from the conception to our natural death. By actively participating in public and media debates about current topics where the value of human life is at risk, we stand up for the teaching of the Catholic Church and the right of life to each and every human being.
Our website www.respektlivet.nu is divided up into various topics, each providing in-depth information and a thorough, ethical analysis together with relevant news, links to articles, frequently asked questions and answers, as well as links to a large number of resources for those wanting to know more. The website also contains all of our booklets and printed material, free of charge, which can be read online or downloaded.
If you have any questions about our work or a more personal question, please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org
THEOLOGY OF THE BODY
Katolska Utskottet för Äktenskap och Familj
Katolska Utskottet för Äktenskap och Familj – Two articles for discussion by Deacon Göran Fäldt, (Swedish – An English translation will soon be made available).
PASTORAL DEPARTMENT OF THE DIOCESE OF OSLO
The Movement of Continuous Prayer for Marriage and Family Life
Transformation – faith and sacred objects in the Middle Ages In this exhibition you will be able to view some of the objects that gave people hope in the Middle Ages. Faith transformed the objects, and served as a bridge to the sacred and holy. Guided tour on video.
Kulturhistorisk museum, Universitetet i Oslo. Fotograf: Ove Holst