St. Mary's Alpha 30s discussion

Advent 2018

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message 1: by Bridget (new)

Bridget | 85 comments I am hoping this works to try and kick off the Advent discussion...

message 2: by Lauren (new)

Lauren | 48 comments I think it worked Bridget!!
I’m struggling with the advent journal....

message 3: by Bridget (new)

Bridget | 85 comments I definitely am struggling - but also hoping to catch up on everything this weekend. I've been feeling extra blah lately with everything and know part of it is because I haven't been focusing enough on my faith life...

message 4: by Emily (new)

Emily Lohr | 33 comments OK, ladies, we can do this! I have been meaning to write all week and just got home, didn't take my coat or shoes off yet, here we go!

I've been doing OK with the Advent journal but I wish there were prompts for the journal entries. I find that I write about things usually unrelated to the reflection of the day, but it's still helpful to reflect on anything at this point in life.... lol.

I was listening to Uninvited on audiobook and she said something that really resonated with me. "So many times I think that I ask God for things through prayer. But in reality, I think about these things and worry about them, talk to my friends about them, and do everything in my power to fix them." SO true. I'm going to try to be better about this, and when I start worrying or googling or whatever, instead pause and say an actual prayer.

I also wanted to say CONGRATS on finishing Alpha, to Lauren, Kim, and Bridget!! You had your work cut out for you but you made it!

Finally - nursery update! So our first week went pretty well I think. We only got 2 kids per mass, which was less than I was hoping, but it was better than zero, and all the parents were super excited and very, very appreciative! This weekend is the family program, so I'm hoping that more families will be at mass (9:00 anyways). One of the moms said she was the "guinea pig" for her group of friends to test out the nursery and she loved it, so she'll spread the word. Thank you all for your support!!

Let's just pretend that Advent started tonight and feel renewed in our faith journeys! Thanks for starting the thread, Bridget!

message 5: by Lauren (new)

Lauren | 48 comments I agree about the prompts Emily! I’m loving the readings, but not so inspired to write like I usually am... I’m gonna keep at it and see what happens.

Wednesday was great, I’m sad to miss the party on Friday but have a feeling you will have a big crew with our new folks! They were all very enthusiastic about discipleship.

I will send out an Evite tomorrow using the invitations we handed out at Alpha.

message 6: by Bridget (new)

Bridget | 85 comments I like that line from the Univited book, Emily. I totally do that as well. I have found that I am really struggling with my prayer life. I feel like I'm so rote and just want to "get it over with" instead of sitting in silence (something I am TERRIBLE at) and really listening for Jesus.

I am finally caught up in the Advent journal - definitely struggling with it and find I am probably writing down things that may be off base with everything. I need to be prompted!

Emily - so glad to hear week one at the nursery went well!! How was today? It seemed like there were a kiddos in there. I went to mass Saturday and there was a nice plug for it during the announcements.

I am really looking forward to Friday and everyone meeting the newest Alpha graduates. They all said they're coming (!!!)

message 7: by Lauren (new)

Lauren | 48 comments Okay, starting to get in a flow with the Advent journal.

Here’s what I’m doing to help move it along:

I am reading the BIS devotional and daily scriptures first, then the Advent journal and writing about the prompt from the BIS devotional and connecting it to the Advent reflection.

This seems to be working for me.

For example, today’s BIS devotional was about Jesus working miracles and stepping out in faith to help people get to Him. So I was of course thinking about Austin and this past Alpha group. When I moved over the Advent reflection we were asked to think about a moment when you weren’t operating out of your own strength, but that of the Lord. So I let my journaling flow from that!

Hope this helps!

P.S. I went to 6PM mass yesterday at St. Sebastian and Fire afterwards. It was incredible. Probably the best mass I’ve ever attended. Sarah and Kim were there too (and Charlie!)

message 8: by Lauren (new)

Lauren | 48 comments Sorry- mass was at 5PM 🤦🏼‍♀️. Fire is at 6PM. Next one is Jan 13th (I think)?

message 9: by Amber (new)

Amber | 96 comments thank you Bridget for starting this thread. I feel like I'm just playing catch up always. I have been doing the emailed reading and had to catch up on the journal.

I've been trying the close your eyes and see what speaks to you. but doing 4 days at once is not helpful. I hope the gathering on the 14th went well!

message 10: by Amber (new)

Amber | 96 comments anyone should be able to add friends. invite using this link

message 11: by Kim (new)

Kim Sellers | 46 comments Good morning ladies! Just checking in! I am having the same problems with not getting updates and I had no idea that there was a new Advent thread!
I do not have a BIS journal. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to commit the time to it. How do you all like it?
The Friday night Christmas gathering went very well but we missed you Lauren and Amber!!! I think that everyone mingled very well and all seemed comfortable and “at home”. We discussed resuming discipleship sometime in January and Bridget will put out a doodle pool for input into what days work best for everyone. Spring Alpha will be on Tuesday’s.
Does everyone know what Mass they will be going to for Christmas?i know that we had this conversation last year and it feels like just yesterday!
I also wanted to ask you all of a special favor. Could you please keep my uncle, Jim Krsul, in your prayers? He is my dads younger brother the one that came to our Alpha celebration dinner in Alpha 2. We found out two weeks ago that he has stage 4 prostate cancer that has spread to his bones. He is on oral chemo and will be receiving infusions to strengthen his bones. He is doing well so far with treatments but the prognosis is not good. I feel lost again and am turning to the Lord for strength. Any prayers would be greatly appreciated!

Love you all and have a great week preparing for the celebration of our Lords entrance on earth!


message 12: by Bridget (new)

Bridget | 85 comments Friday was a great evening and we definitely missed you Amber and Lauren. I am hopeful that our current Alpha group continues on with discipleship!

Kim, I am so sorry to hear about your uncle. Sending lots of prayers for your uncle and your family as you go through this difficult situation.

I am still failing miserably at the BIS Advent journal. I just caught up on the last 4 days. I don't know why I'm struggling with it so much. Hoping to finish the last week of Advent actually doing the journal every day (fingers crossed)!!

I am most likely going to go to the 4pm mass on Christmas Eve.

message 13: by Bridget (new)

Bridget | 85 comments Hi Ladies,

Has anyone been watching the daily "Best Advent Ever" videos from Dynamic Catholic? I've found I enjoy those more than the journal. The one from Sunday made me think of Emily's previous comment about who people turn to when making a decision, it talks about turning to God and how all the answers are in the Tabernacle. It had me wanting to go back to adoration and try be in silence with prayer. Has anyone gone to adoration lately? I think St. Bonaventure's still has the perpetual adoration...

Hope you're all having a good week~!

message 14: by Kim (new)

Kim Sellers | 46 comments Hi Bridget!

When we went to the FIRE service on 12/9 at St. Sebastian's, after the Mass they have adoration but it includes praise and worship during adoration. You do have quiet time for reflection as well but there is something very personal, engaging and reflective in praise and worship during adoration. It truly is an amazing experience-check it out in January. It should be on 1/13 (it is always the second Sunday of the month). I am not sure of anyone else offering it at the moment.

I have a really strong desire to go to St. Anthony's chapel on Troy Hill as part of my Advent preparation. I have always wanted to go and now feels like the right time! There was actually a write up about in St. Marys or St. Ursulas bulletin a few weeks back. I believe that they hold the largest collection of relics outside of the Vatican. They have over 5,000.00 relics. The article I read said that miracles have even take place at the chapel! This also seems like an AMAZING place to go and have quiet time with out Lord! Maybe you were meant to go here as well??? Just a thought....(might not be an original thought....maybe the Lord place it there????) Let's check it out! xoxox

message 15: by Bridget (new)

Bridget | 85 comments Kim - I definitely will have to check out the FIRE service / adoration after.

I have heard about the relics at St. Anthony's chapel as well and would love to go. I just looked at the website ( and it looks like you can do an audio tour during the week and there are a few times on Saturday's where a docent leads. I am off all of next week so I may just check it out then!! Thanks, Kim :)

message 16: by Emily (new)

Emily Lohr | 33 comments Hi Ladies!

Kim - I also read that excerpt in the bulletin a few weeks ago written by Fr. Joe and was really intrigued! Would love to go - going to put it on my 2019 list! I'm also really sorry to hear about your uncle and I've been praying for him.

Bridget - I also feel like I need to go to adoration and I think St. Bonaventure changed their hours (so it's not 24/7 ish) but still is available most days! I haven't been watching the DC videos, though I get them... just keeping up with the journal is a struggle! Lol, I'm glad they are good videos, though.

Amber - I hope Loki is starting to feel better! I have been doing chunks of the journal in a row as well and it's good but tough!

Lauren - I love how you are so good with those BIS daily devotionals. And I'm so interested to hear why the FIRE Mass at St. Sebastian's was so good. Who was the priest? What was the music and crowd like? I do want to go.

I am singing with the choir at 10:00 pm on Christmas Eve (after my Santa duties are complete) and then again at 11:00 am on Christmas Day (with the kids there). 11:00 am is always the best kept Christmas Mass secret in my opinion!

I have 5 more days to go of the journal - including Christmas - and I'm really liking the reflections. Since I have this whole nursery project going, the past few days have really been resonating with me. We still haven't been getting many kids, but I just printed up some flyers for the vestibules on Christmas Eve, Fr. Tim is going to talk it up during his Masses, and I also printed a poster to hang in the cry room. So, I'm very hopeful for January! I also self appointed Bibi and me to a "Young Family Committee" to try and get some more engagement from young families in the new year. The first step is sending an email survey about what people WANT in their church community! I'm really excited about this. We don't have a ton of email addresses on file at the rectory, but I have about 40, so we'll start with that. It's been a bit of a struggle because I'm so jazzed about a lot of things we can do, but Fr. Tim takes about 1 week to reply to one of my excited emails... soooo, yeah. I sent him a Christmas card with a Starbucks gift card in it, and on the back I wrote, "You're going to need a lot of coffee to keep up with me in 2019!" LOLOLOL.

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas, enjoy some special moments with your friends and family, and can feel the joy of Jesus' birth in your hearts. I pray these things for myself, too. Xoxo :-)

message 17: by Kim (new)

Kim Sellers | 46 comments Emily-you are amazing!

I am so stressed out and exhausted with Christmas (shopping, wrapping, cooking, cleaning, baking, etc. ) and work and don't know how you do all that you do and with such positive energy! I admire you so much! I know what Christmas is all about and preach about it, but still ended up getting swept into this stress pit! Next year........ (I say that every year!)

I am so excited to hear of your plans in the New Year-you are having such a "domino effect" on peoples spiritual lives! Kickstarting their faith journey and bringing it to life!

My brother came in for Christmas and we did go to St. Anthony's Chapel together on Saturday and then went to St. Stans afterwards for mass. It was truly an amazing experience-definitely check it out! They even have a relic of a thorn from the crown of thorns, a piece of the true cross and a piece of the Virgin Mary's veil-it is definitely something to see!!!!

Thank you so much for your prayers for my uncle. I really appreciate it (more than you ever know).

I really needed to see that in print (your final paragraph) today. My stress level is at 100% (I stayed up until midnight making a cheesecake that fell then the dog had us up until 2 am and I am at work now. I really need to refocus my energy on what matters most. Thank you Emily!!!!!

I wish you all a very, very Merry and Blessed Christmas. I am so thankful and blessed to be surrounded by such a beautiful group of women such as yourselves! Love you each dearly! Merry Christmas ya'll!!!!! :):):):)

message 18: by Bridget (new)

Bridget | 85 comments Emily - you're a powerhouse! I don't know how you do everything you do, it's very admirable. And I honestly laughed out loud reading what you wrote to Fr. Tim!

Kim - that's awesome you go to go to St. Anthony's! Did you do the self guided tour or one lead by someone at the church? Hope you've been able to take time to relax :)

I went to 4pm mass at St. Mary's tonight. The church was overflowing. Fr. Tim's homily was fantastic (that man doesn't need a microphone at times haha). While I didn't recognize the majority of people there, I did see some familiar faces from the various Alpha sessions/groups. It made me appreciate Alpha more - there is something special about going to church and actually knowing others who are there too.

I hope all you ladies have a wonderful Christmas with your families and friends. :)

message 19: by Lauren (new)

Lauren | 48 comments Ladies,

I wanted to share with you all that I really need your spiritual support right now. I had to make a very difficult decision about my relationship with John. I am absolutely devastated that I ended up here. To say I’m heartbroken is an understatement.

I don’t know how I am going to survive or move forward as so much of my life is wrapped up in John, but I am trusting in God and know that I am loved.

I believe in my heart that everything is being worked out for my good. I believe this had to happen so that God could answer my prayers. I had to release John, I’ve given him back to God and am just going to resolve to trust God to work.

I believe everything will be OK. I know God loves me, and I’ve resolved to believe that he is grieving with me.
I imagine how hard it must be for a father who loves me so much to not answer my prayers. He hears my cries and feels my pain and I know how badly he wants to fix this. God’s timing is perfect, and if he would have answered my prayer it wouldn’t have been the right time, and I know my Heavenly Father will give me nothing but the best.

Ladies, 2018 has been the hardest year of my life- but also the one filled with the most growth. 2019 will be a year for me of uncharted territory- I hate to ask for prayers, but if I could be so bold I really will be needing some.


message 20: by Emily (new)

Emily Lohr | 33 comments Lauren,

Rest assured of our prayers. I read this just before bed and feel very sad for you, but I'm also so, so proud of you. You are such an incredible example of intentional prayer and following God's guidance. In fact, I have been up since 4:30 am (a lot on my mind), and finally finished my Advent journal just now, but I wrote about how your example of following God's will is similar to that of Mary. The future is unknown, but you know that this is a necessary step to progress along God's plan for you. You are wise beyond your years, girl.

On a more logistical note, do you need anything? Are you moving out? Are things going to be OK with your job since you work for John's dad?

Sending lots of love and prayers to you, and don't ever feel shy about asking for prayers! We are all here to lift each other up, link arms, and walk in the direction God is leading us... together. Lots of love, xoxo.

message 21: by Bridget (new)

Bridget | 85 comments Lauren,

As Emily said, you're an amazing example of following God's guidance and trusting in Him. I am so sorry you're going through this and will be sending prayers your way.

If there is anything you need, outside of prayers, please let me know!!

message 22: by Amber (new)

Amber | 96 comments Lauren I am so sorry for the pain you are going through.

I am confident that God has a plan and will be with you. I was discussing with my family over the holidays my experience with God's plan and that sometimes prayers aren't answered the easy way but after the hard times end in a wonderful result.

My prayers will be with you as you journey forward. I know you are well prepared for it. You are so strong.

Let me know what you need moving forward, I can always go for coffee or brunch.

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