Prayer for a Good Vacation

12-30-2018The World in View from a Believer’s PerspectiveFr. Larry Merta

Here's an image from our 2nd Annual Summer Family Camp in Flagstaff. Steve Cosentino, one of our dedicated ministers to our parish marriage preparation team and a extraordinary minister of holy communion. He had the best idea of all: taking an afternoon nap while the kids and parents were out playing kick ball. I will be following his example for a few days after the Christmas Octave. I will also take along a card of a Prayer For A Good Vacation.

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Merry Christmas

12-23-2018The World in View from a Believer’s PerspectiveFr. Larry Merta

Last October, I composed this shot on the last evening of my annual retreat in Abiquiu New Mexico. On the quiet and still landscape I recalled that on the other side of the world over two thousand years ago, shepherds tended their flocks. I stood there behind the tripod imagining the sequence of the original Christmas story: countless angelic hosts appeared in a flash of glory to serenade the shepherds with the unimaginable news. Heaven sent its own invitation to have them search for a newborn Infant—the God Man. That night turned festive for Bethlehem’s humble shepherds. Never doubt the power of landscapes to introduce you into the contemplation of God’s History of Salvation.

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Preventing Caregiver Burnout

12-23-2018On the Caregiving Journey…

One of the greatest challenges that caregivers face, especially during the holiday season is caregiver burnout. As caregivers devote more hours to provide increasingly more complex care for their loved ones while still managing all their other responsibilities, burnout, or compassion fatigue, starts to set in. How does a caregiver know he/she has compassion fatigue? There are many indicators that include being irritable, resentful, angry, depressed, annoyed, exhausted, frustrated, sarcastic, pessimistic, apathetic and overwhelmed. If you are experiencing one or more of these on a frequent, regular basis, then you may be experiencing compassion fatigue.

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How to Handle Hurt during the Holidays

12-23-2018Journeying through Grief

The holidays are meant to be a joyous time spent with family and friends. For those who may be mourning the death of a loved one, the holidays can be very depressing in addition to stressful. Some of the stress comes from others who mean well, but do not know how to be supportive of someone who is grieving. To make the holidays less stressful, share this column with your family members and friends so that they know what is and is not appropriate.

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Growing in Friendship with God

12-16-2018The World in View from a Believer’s PerspectiveFr. Larry Merta

The mark of a good friend is someone who's not afraid to tell you what you don't want to hear—because it's good and even necessary to do so. Fr. John Greb from St. Timothy Parish is one of those guys. Many of you know him. Years ago, he served under Fr. Richard Felt as an associate. Friendship with God works the same way. Growing in friendship with God will cost you regular time that you've got to dedicate to prayer. And as with any good friend, God's subtlety is never lacking in showing us where we veer and what we need to do to get back on the straight and narrow. But to get there, we need to listen to Him—a lot.

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Surviving the Holidays

12-16-2018On the Caregiving Journey…

The holidays are meant to be a joyous time spent with family and friends. For those who may be mourning the death of a loved one, the holidays can be very depressing in addition to stressful. One of the greatest challenges, especially in the first two years of grieving, is trying to get through the holidays with the least amount of stress and sorrow. AARP offers several tips that can make this challenge manageable including the following:

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Heaven

12-09-2018The World in View from a Believer’s PerspectiveFr. Larry Merta

Here's a shot on Granville Island, Vancouver, British Columbia. How about this image of some trucker's nice toy that he saved many a penny to buy! It's certainly a switch of scenery, and the feel of travel, no doubt, quite different. When I grew up in South Texas I figured I would want to live a good other portion of my life in a pine forest. Not a few of our Holy Cross parishioners left the snowbelt for the sunbelt. The frantic pace of the West Coast brings settlement to Utah in search of the quiet beauty of the natural surroundings. The humidity of the Bible Belt has others discover the beauty of the Southwest desert. Island fever from Hawaii can be alleviated with a domicile in the continental US.

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Virtual Support Groups

12-09-2018On the Caregiving Journey…

Are you feeling the stress of helping someone take care of him/herself? Are you experiencing a roller coaster of emotions that actually surprise you? Perhaps you are experiencing frustration, resentment, guilt, and anger at your loved one for making demands on your time. These feelings are normal when you take care of another person whether or not you call yourself a caregiver. How does one get off the roller coaster? One of the best ways is to attend a support group that allows you to interact with your peers – others who are taking care of their loved ones and experiencing many of the same emotions.

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Our Good Works

12-02-2018The World in View from a Believer’s PerspectiveFr. Larry Merta

The Wakodahatchee Wetlands near Boyton Beach, Florida are teeming with migrant birds like this adult Anhinga. Had I taken another step, this specimen would have set sail for the sky. Somehow these birds had me thinking about our winter parishioners, our brothers in sisters in Christ who worship during the cooler months of the year with the year-round members of Holy Cross. Winter parishioners are parishioners, not snowbirds. That's what you are. Parishioners. I admire them as they seasonally participate in St. Vincent de Paul, as they head to the Council to meet the new office among our Knights, as they serve our indoor regularly scheduled Mass ministries. I am most grateful to God that you are using your gifts while you can. We grow in merit when we do so.

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Journeying through Grief during the Holidays

12-02-2018On the Caregiving Journey…

The holidays are a time of family celebrations steeped in tradition. However, for those who are grieving, holidays can be very stressful. The issue is how to get through the holidays with the least amount of stress. With the use of a few tips, this can be possible. The Palliative Care Organization of Australia has developed a list of eleven tips to help those who are grieving.

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