My Experiences at Salt and Light Television

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“You are the light of the world… you are the salt of the earth.” (Mt 5: 13-14)

I was blessed to have an opportunity to spend 15-weeks learning about Catholic media at Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation. As a student enrolled in Chaminade College School’s Specialist High Skills Major, Information Communications Technology sector program, I was to fulfill the requirement of a 2-credit or 4-credit co-op at a placement that pertains to the sector.

At the end of the 2017-2018 school year, I decided I wanted to do my co-op for a semester so to get the full experience. However, even with that decided, the most important piece of the puzzle was missing: my placement. Where did I want to do my co-op?

Flashback to May 2018, I was part of The Catholic Register’s Youth Speak News workshop. As part of the weekend of workshops, the group of youth had the chance to visit Salt and Light Catholic Media’s offices and studios. While I has some fears being a show host for the day, in front the camera and teleprompter, the visit left great impression on me. Months later, I contacted Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB, the CEO of Salt and Light Catholic Media whom I met during the visit about a possible co-op placement and he welcomed me with open arms.

Forward to September, with the help of my co-op teacher, Ms. Rosaria Aquino, we made official contact with Ms. Gita Hosek, the Director of Production and Programming whom Fr. Rosica had referred me to. After much waiting, an interview date was set.

I started placement the Tuesday after the interview. My supervisor Esmeralda Blasi who was also the Production Coordinator was very helpful in introducing me to the various people at Salt and Light and also become more familiar with the work spaces. The other people of the team were very welcoming, allowing me to be part of the team.

For the duration of my placement, I spent most of the time working on preparing transcriptions and time stamping for closed captioning of shows. To me, it was a very humbling task – to sit and set text to the shows so that the captions would appear on screen to aid the hearing impaired or those who would find these captions helpful. My mother often used these captions when watching TV shows in her first years in Canada since she needed could not listen to the English dialogue quick enough. Therefore, I knew how helpful these captions are.

“Don’t you get bored doing captions?” some of my friends in my co-op class asked when they found out what I was doing. My honest answer was. “No”. I loved preparing the closed-captioning. Doing so gave me the chance to get a preview of many of the shows that were to be broadcasted that week. Not only so, as I worked, I was “forced” into listening to these shows carefully. I was exposed to many new dimensions of Christianity. I remember being exposed to the concept of Liberation Theology through an episode of Catholic Focus with Allyson Kenny and Rev. Naim Ateek. On the other hand working on the Where God Weeps episodes helped me to see the state of persecuted Christians all throughout the world. In other words, each show I worked on opened a new door of learning for me, not only on the technical side, but also on a spiritual side.

Some weeks after starting placement, I also started running the teleprompter during show recordings in studio. I often helped Fr. Matt Gworek and Noel Ocol during their recordings of Perspectives Daily and Vatican Connections. These two shows were news shows and by being present for these recordings, I was able to receive my “dose” of the Catholic news, especially during the duration of the Synod of Bishops on Youth and Vocational Discernment in October. I also assisted with the teleprompting for these two shows in French hosted by Charles Le Borgeois and Emilie Callan. While my French was not the best, I was able to learn some new French words here and there just by listening and running the teleprompter.

Other memories I have was the time I sat with Jay Turchansky in the editing suite as I learned and watched him edit an episode of Witness. Honestly, it was overwhelming as I sat in the suite with windows opened as Jay pieced the whole episode together. I have edited short films for Communications-Technology courses, and with my level, it would take typically one to two weeks to edit a 5-minute film.

I had a hands on experience as I actually worked in an editing suite with Philip Boudreau, a university-intern, editing Fr. Matt’s Advent Reflection videos. It was an interesting experience learning from others who have had much experience as they chose shots, added b-roll in a very efficient manner.

I am owe a big “thank you” to first of all, Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB for his support of my intentions to fulfill my co-op placement at Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation. I have learned much from him, not only about his leadership style but rather, many inner qualities: He is a great father figure, amazing contributor to the Church, an exceptional homilist and very humble.

I am also grateful for the guidance of Ms. Gita Hosek and Ms. Esmeralda Blasi who were my supervisors throughout my 15-weeks at Salt and Light. They have accompanied me and offered their assistance on the technical side, especially during the first weeks at Salt and Light.

My last words of gratitude go to the Salt and Light team from the production department to the master control department… I thank them for their hospitality and assistance in making this co-op experience a positive one.

I now have a much deeper respect for those who work in Catholic media. It takes a team of people who are passionate about the work they do In order to deliver to the Catholic audience salt that would flavour their spiritual food and light that they can use to shine on others.

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The Director’s Commentary: Le Carte

 

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As first semester wraps up, VACA productions is now out with their second film after last year’s Girarsi.

Challenged to create a film under two minutes, the VACA production faced some difficulty in figuring out how the events of Le Carte was going to play out. First, after the well loved Girarsi which was almost 5-minutes in length, we were challenged to tell an effective story within less than two minutes with a beginning middle and end. While some members wanted to keep the mafia essence of Girarsi, we decided to go a different route, focussing on the theme of family. Le Carte however, still retained the Italian essence that was exhibited in Girarsi.

Le Carte – a short film, only 1:30 minutes, as opposed to the 5:50 minutes Girarsi, strives to transmit a message that is relevant to today’s society. Le Carte addresses the topic of teenage choices: Friends or family? Cards or Party? Teenagers face these types choices everyday.

This year, while straying away from the church setting, VACA productions newest film Le Carte still has a hidden piece of Catholicism in it. After two Synod of Bishops on the family which resulted in a (controversial) Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love), Le Carte seems to be a perfect response to the Apostolic Exhortation:

“The tensions created by an overly individualistic culture, caught up with possessions and pleasures, leads to intolerance and hostility in families.” (Amoris Laetitia, 30)

Are people today becoming more and more individualistic? Have we become too self-consumed? Thinking more about ourselves than the needs of others?

Sometimes, I ask myself the those questions. I value family time and sometimes, I fear that I become too busy with extracurricular activities or parish activities that I do not spend enough time with family either physically with mom, dad and sister and/or a Skype call or writing an e-mail to family members overseas – something I have honestly been lacking.

If you have known me for some time, just by reading this commentary so far, you know I love to add the Catholic aspect into the media pieces that I do. While Le Carte was not filmed in a Church, I recommended that since we would take shots from Anthony Bortolin’s grandfather’s home, we should at least get a shot of some popular Italian saint and in this day and age, it is St. Padre Pio of Pietrecina. Padre Pio’s face is seen in most devout Catholic Italian homes… am I wrong to say this?

Going back to the technical side of things, I honestly found it more difficult to create a film in less than two minutes than a five minute short film. You can go on, and on, and on in a five minute film but with a two minute film, you need to keep the message short and concise – something I learned I need to work on.

Looking back, this is the last film I have created for the Communications-Technology course at Chaminade College School and indeed, a journey it was. I remember struggling to understand shot composition, repeating “the full action” in order to get a proper shot for a short Halls commercial. While I still face road bumps here and there while producing films, I believe I have come a long way and one thing for sure: VACA productions is not shutting down after this year’s IGNITE showcase at Yorkdale Cinemas on Wednesday May 29, 2019. I will still be directing films and with my experiences from my co-op at Salt and Light Media (a separate post to come), I hope to continue using digital media as a form of evangelization.

Thank you Mr. Perrotta for your guidance, advice and valuable feedback! Thank you Anthony, Carlos and Domenico for your companionship and hard work in making Le Carte possible!

 

Official Le Carte website: https://lecartemovie.weebly.com/ .

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Vincent Pham’s 5 Notable Moments of 2018

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It has become a tradition for me to sit down at the end of the previous year and the beginning the new year to reflect on the events of the past year. This year, I chose not to call this post the “Top # Moments or 20XX”, but rather I chose to call it notable moments. The reason for this is because honestly, while there were many top and fun moments this past year, there were down moments, serious moments that I really learned something. The order of moments here do not reflect any precedence, but have been set up in chronological order.

  1. St. Francis Xavier Relic Pilgrimage at St. Michael’s Cathedral Basilica Jan 12,
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    Arm of St. Francis Xavier Photo: Catholic Christian Outreach Canada

    2018 – I love the act of veneration of relics within the Catholic Church. As Catholics, we do not worship relics nor the saints, but it is through devotion to the saints that we come closer to God through their saintly lives, and therefore come to worship God himself. It has honestly been a number of years since any major relic did a National Pilgrimage, or “tour”. Therefore, when I heard of the relic of St. Francis Xavier making a pilgrimage through Canada, (that was about late 2017), I immediately had a desire to be part of it and have a chance to pray with the arm of St. Francis Xavier. The day came on Jan 12 last year, and I took the subway directly from school down to St. Michael’s Cathedral Basilica. The lines were not long when I arrived at about 3:45pm. I stepped into line with the pilgrimage prayer card and medal in hand in prayerful mode. Soon enough, it was my couple seconds in front of the arm and I gently placed the prayer card and medal in front of the reliquary, thinking of those whom I have been asked to pray for. After, I went to find a seat, a front seat, on the front right isle of the Cathedral. There, with Cardinal Collins as the presider, we celebrated a beautiful Mass. It was a packed Cathedral. Though snowing and outside, people still wanted to get a moment with the relic. This seemed to be the case all throughout Canada. The pilgrimage really brought Canadian to prayer and hope something like this would happen again.

  2. Eucharistic Adoration Feb. 9, 2018 – I have been to many  Eucharistic Adoration eucharist-2771033_960_720sessions at my parish, Catholic conferences, youth groups… but one that stuck with me this year was this specific one on Feb. 9, hosted by youth from my parish’s Youth and Young Adults ministries. Though I did help organize and collaborate, came to the Church right after school that Friday, I appreciated the fact that there were other people my age who wanted to take part in it through music ministry, reading, altar serving… That shows that the Youth of the Church are still alive. Not only so, that Adoration took place the night before my 17th birthday and there was nothing better than being in front of the Lord in the Church with lights dimmed down, focusing solely on the Eucharist. That is the type of Adoration that I love.
  3. Thầy‘s Calling to the Father April 23, 2018 – A teacher, mentor, “labourer in the
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    Thầy and I at St. Cecilia’s Church  Photo: Martha Nguyen

    Lord’s vineyard”, and friend of mine, Thầy Peter Tuấn Nguyễn was called “to the house of Father” the morning of April 23, 2018 after a battle with cancer. I will not go on a tangent because I have expressed my thoughts about this great man shortly after the sad day in this post. But I have been affirmed that death is never the end. I will write again about Thầy in a post on the First Memorial Anniversary, but I have noticed a sense of renewal within my parish’s youth. This was very evident in the 100-Day Memorial Mass we hosted at the parish in August, which I will save these reflections for the post this upcoming April.

  4. Involvement with Catholic Media – I have been part of The Catholic Register‘s Youth Speak News (YSN) team for the 2017-2018 term, and once again for this 2018-2019 term and I am ever grateful for the opportunity to write for an audience. Looking back at my 2017-2018 term and my current term, I recognize that yes, there are road bumps that I hit, stories and topics that may be more difficult to write about than others but I have learned that one should not give up and that thoughts will come up throughout the day. I am thankful to the YSN editor, Jean Kodin for her continued guidance, encouragement and here wisdom which has helped a great deal not only with the pieces I do for YSN but those tips are also helpful in academic writing. Thanks to the YSN retreat in May, I was introduced to The Catholic Register’s offices and to Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation. That paved the path for me for in September, I enrolled in the cooperative education 2-credit course to fulfill the requirement for my Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) program in Information Communications Technology. Back in the summer, thinking about a possible placement, I thought of Salt and Light and thankfully, I got a placement there (I will reflect on my experiences in depth at the end of January, beginning of February when I have completed the co-op course). My experiences in both YSN and at Salt and Light have been positive. Yes, up an downs, mistakes here and there but they are valuable lessons that will help me great deal in the future.
  5. Youth in Policing Initiative Summer 2018 – With an application process that No photo description available.began in January 2018 and an interview in March, I was one of the 152 high-school students selected to be part of this past summer’s Youth in Policing program (YIPI) out of close to 1000 applicants. Honestly, my summer couldn’t have been better. Spending 8-weeks working not only with police officers, but with other members of the community, it gave me an insight of the diversity of the City of Toronto in terms of activities, outreach and culture. I was sent to work with 14 Division where along with 3 other students, I worked the officers at 14 Division. The Division gave me an inside look of the work police officers do. Days at the Division, the YIPI students did much administrative work. Much of the work was geared towards the preparation of the Police Station at the Canadian Nation Exhibition. Besides, the officers there gave us opportunities to work with the community, working with children at Dovercourt Boys and Girls club, MJKO Boxing Summer camp and St. Alban’s Boys and Girls Club. I also took part in YIPI group initiatives, taking part in the weekly Rookie League Big Sport Days on Thursdays, sponsored by Jays Care Foundation and Carribana. I learned that the Toronto Police Service is not only present to enforce the law, but also to engage with the community. YIPI was not only a great employment opportunity, but ultimately, it was an opportunity to go outside of my comfort zone and try new things and at the same time engage with members of the community.

There you have it, my 5 notable moments of 2018. There were many other moments that I had not mentioned here. However, the moments relayed here were notable learning opportunities that I hope others will have similar experiences.

2019 will be roller-coaster of events, at five days into 2019, it’s already been. I will be hopefully blogging these experience more frequently this year.

Wishing everyone a happy new year, and the Lord watch over us!

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Reflection: Emmanuel – God is with Us

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“Come, come, Emmanuel! Son of God appear. Heaven and earth, rejoice! Salvation is drawing near.” That is the refrain of Steve Angrisano’s Advent Hymn, Emmanuel.

It seems to me that as the years pass by, the name Emmanuel bears a different and deeper meaning. When I was young, in school, I recall that in class, the teacher taught about how Jesus is known by many names, Emmanuel, Prince of Peace, Saviour… Then, at English Mass you hear the classic, “O come, O come Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel…” a very common and classic Advent hymn. I recall those years, I only understood was another name referring to Jesus.

Growing up and listening to the Gospel attentively, the answer finally came to me when Matthew 1:23 was read, “Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means, “God is with us.””

If one extracts the definition here in Matthew 1:23, “God is with us,” it is such a beautiful definition that describes Jesus. Jesus, true God wanting to be with us in the form of true man, the mystery of the incarnation – that is what Christmas is all about, God wanting to be with us. But God was not born as a worldly king. Though Jesus came from the line of King David, Jesus was a king born of a woman, with a stable as a palace, with a manger as his throne.

One of the Christmas Gospel options for the Christmas Eve Mass that may not be the most interesting to some, the Genealogy of Jesus (Mt 1:1-6). Is it a long 16 verses just listing names of people of Jesus’ family tree from Abraham to Jesus, many of the names in which you have not even heard of before? Jehoram? Jotham? Hezekiah? These are people of the Old Testament who were all sinners. They have done mistakes. Yet, God chose to be born from such a family line, because God wanted to be one of us, he did not want to be different than any human being, but that of sin.

Understanding the term Emmanuel is important because we hear it so often during the Advent and Christmas season that we say it, we sing it without letting the definition of the term sink into us. Emmanuel within Advent and Christmas hymns is our call out to God, asking God to be among us in this world full of darkness and terror, like the people of the Old Testament. I see that Emmanuel a response to the invocation in Psalm 42, “As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and behold the face of God?” (Ps 42:1-2)

Within the context of the Liturgy, we are reminded of Emmanuel very often as the presider and the proclaimer of the Gospel says, “The Lord be with you”, and we respond, “And with your spirit”. Do we just respond out of routine? Is the minister himself conscious that every time the exchange, “The Lord be with you – and with your spirit,” takes place that we are asking Emmanuel to be among us, or reminding one another that God is with us in Word and Sacrament?

Looking into our daily lives, how do we make Emmanuel present within our daily lives? How do we let other know that God is with us? Our lives must be reflective of that fact that we have Emmanuel present within our lives. That means, we must let our faith in God be reflective in word and deed everyday, but in a more prominent way, during this Christmas season as we are constantly reminded of the wonderful gift God gave us. Christmas is an opportunity to serve your family, your friends, you parish community and wider community. Let Christmas dinners and gatherings be chance to remind us of Emmanuel, that we are here today because God is with us. Let this be a time to serve the poor at homeless shelters, at food banks, a time to serve the people of the peripheries. Let this be a time so the unfortunate know that Emmanuel – God is with us and that they are not abandoned. I repeat, let this Christmas time be a time so that we may be reflections of the Emmanuel to our brothers and sisters. It is only when people see that God is with us, then will people rejoice because they know that God is present in their lives.

“Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.”

 

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Vincent Pham’s Top 5 MUST LIST

As part of a graphic design project for grade 12 Communications Technology, I was tasked with creating a Top 5 Must List. Take a look:

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I have not been able to blog as frequently as I want to. This has been a busy month of not just school work and other ministry work, but also an intense time of discernment as I move on to post-secondary studies after this academic year. I hope to share a lot of my experiences as Christmas draws near and offer some reflections.  I ask for continued prayers as I discern my future. God bless!

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Q & A: Catholic Bible 365 Challenge

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I have announced over the summer on various social media pages that starting September 30th, 2018, I will be challenge myself to read the Bible in 365 days. However, I wanted to open the challenge up to others. Today, I want to deliver a blog post that pertains to this challenge. Unlike other posts, I will do it in Q & A form for easy reference.

What is the Catholic Bible 365 Challenge? The Catholic Bible 365 Challenge is a program that will help Catholics worldwide read the Catholic Bible in 365 Days. It is a “challenge” spiritually. It is a call to be committed both to prayer and to reading the Bible.

Why should I participate in Catholic Bible 365 ChallengeThe Bible is a book that should be read in its entirety at least once in a Catholic’s lifetime. Have you ever read the Bible in its entirety yet? This is not a page skimming, but a sincere challenge for oneself to set aside 15 to 30 minutes a day everyday for a year to read the Word of God. In a world where we are so distracted by technology, we tend to make excuses for not fulfilling prayer time or reading scripture. However, “Ignorance of scripture is ignorance of Christ,” said St. Jerome. To not set aside time reading scripture, we put Christ to the sidelines of our life.

Who are in invited to participate in Catholic Bible 365 ChallengeEveryone is invited to participate in this challenge, Catholic or non-Catholic, Christian or non-Christian.

Is there a sign up sheet or form? No, you may “like” the official Facebook page (@CatholicBible365), or you may let this challenge be one just between you and your friends and God. This is not a contest, but a challenge for that will benefit one’s spiritual life.

When does the Catholic Bible 365 Challenge start? The Catholic Bible 365 Challenge starts on September 30th, 2018, the memorial of St. Jerome. St. Jerome is the translator of the Vulgate Bible into Latin. He is a saint of scripture and had a deep love for the Word of God. The challenge will end on September 30th, 2019.

Which Bible will you use for the Catholic Bible 365 ChallengeThroughout the duration of the challenge, I will use two copies of the same translation, the New American Bible Revised Edition (NABRE). One is Oxford’s Catholic Study Bible Third Edition, which I reviewed back in 2016. I don’t want to skim through the Bible, but I want to read it thoroughly and read the footnotes at the bottom of the Bible. However, I will be on several trips and retreats this year and it is not feasible to bring along a thick Study Bible. Instead, on such occasions, I will be using Catholic Book Publishing’s St. Joseph Edition of the New American Bible Personal Size Gift Edition which I will review in the near future on The Catholic Man Reviews. I have always liked the NABRE because of its detailed footnotes and it brings me assurance that the this translation is an approved translation by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. I do have the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) Catholic Edition on my shelf, which is the official Lectionary translation in Canada. However, the lack of notes in that version steers me away from it. The NRSV though is a more ecumenical translation, used by a wider population of Christians in different denominations. It does not matter which Catholic translation. Just make sure it is a Catholic translation. Non-Catholic translations may not bear some books, the Apocrypha and its notes may be misleading for Catholics.

I don’t have a Catholic Study Bible. What other resources can I use? There are many Catholic Bible resources available online including:

How do I make time to read scripture? “What would happen if we turned back when we forget it, if we opened it more times a day, if we read the message of God contained in the Bible the way we read messages on our cellphones?” Pope Francis asked the people on a Sunday Angelus in March 2017. We constantly make excuses why we leave our bibles out to collect dust. We put aside out phone and/or social media when we want to do something we like, such as watching a movie or playing sports. When it comes to faith-related activities, we tend to procrastinate. Make God the centre of our lives. When we do that, we let the celebration of Mass, prayer, and scripture reading sink into souls and it is only then do we understand and love what we do as Catholics.

Is there a prize for completing the challengeNo, there is no material prize for completing this challenge. Rather, there is a spiritual prize: When one sets aside time to read scripture everyday, one gets to know God and His Church better. A lot of what we do in Catholicism derive from scripture. For example, reading Leviticus, one can see some parallels of the ancient rituals with today’s liturgical practices. Ultimately,  when we set prayer and scripture at the centre of our lives, we will see changes in the way we act, see and live among God’s people.

How do I know what passage to read each day? I found a chart online, which I reformatted to fit one page. This can be printed, folded in quarters and slipped into your Bible. Find the PDF here:

Feel free to print as many copies as you need, and share it with others so that others can join you in the challenge!

Please share the Catholic Bible 365 Challenge so that your friends and others can may want to join you!

Throughout the duration of the challenge, many aids and videos will be shared on the Official Facebook Page (@catholicbible365), or simply click here:

www.bit.ly/catholicbible365

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Answer: How do I Find Time to Pray?

In the midst of homework, sports tournaments and practices and other extra-curricular activities, prayer tends to the last thing on a Catholic teenager’s daily to-do list. Not only is this the case for Catholic teens, but also the case in the lives of many adults as well. Prayer seems to become the bottom thing of the pile of work we do, and it gets buried in the dump. The irony is, prayer is an essential part in the lives of Christians, no matter what denomination you belong to. Even though Christians are divided in doctrines and teachings, the act of prayer is what unites Christians.

“How do I find time to pray?” some people ask me. Here is how I schedule my prayer life:

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My breviary during a retreat

Morning: I wake up, I try to remember to do the sign of the cross. If it is a school day, I do my morning hygiene and breakfast in order to head out to the bus stop to catch the bus. When I catch the bus, I take out my breviary to pray Morning Prayer. If it is a non-school day, I pick up the breviary and pray it first, before starting anything.  For some, it may be tempting to put your phone on your night table. For me, I keep my phone on my desk, on the other side of my bedroom. I keep my breviary on my night table, making it the first thing I pick up when I wake up either to pray it right away on the weekend, or reminding me to put it in my backpack on a school day. I also download the breviary texts on my phone via iBreviary, so if I forget my breviary on a school day, I still have texts with me to pray.

Midday: I always try to remind myself to at least do the sign of the cross before meals, especially before lunch when I would often forget. During lunch, I sometimes find my way to my school chapel just to visit the Eucharist, even if it just were a minute or two. Lately while working, I try to find a nearby church that is open. Most of the time, it is not possible as the churches are locked, but I have managed to find one for myself. It is very calming and prayerful environment, especially because not many people are present in the church building during noon.

Evening and Night: Our family prays together every evening, simply just a decade of the rosary and the reading of the gospel of the day, because as Fr. Patrick Peyton, the rosary priest said, “The family that prays together, stays together.” Sometimes, evening family prayer is the only time that recollects the family together after a busy day. Before I go to sleep, like the morning, I take out the breviary and pray Evening Prayer (even though it may be 11pm), but Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer are the chief hours of the Liturgy of the Hours. Therefore, I strive to pray at least those two Offices.

A prayer routine varies from person to person. You have to find what fits for you. For me, I find a sense of renewal every time I pray the Liturgy of the Hours as it changes everyday over the course of four-weeks. I also like the fact that the Liturgy of the Hours is said universally as a Church along with the clergy and religious all over the world.

However, for some, praying the rosary or Divine Mercy chaplet may be one’s preferable style of prayer. Or perhaps singing along to praise and worship song can be one’s style. For some, painting icons is their preferred form of prayer.

Lately, I have wanted to be more prayerful. I have many “full-length” rosaries at home.

Inspired by the many paracord rosaries I have seen sold online though, I decided to make my own decade rosary a couple weeks ago.  A difficult part of the rosary was selecting the cross. I considered puchasing a new one. However, while looking for one in my collection, I came across one I knew would fit. The cross is contains not only the corpus, but symbols of the four evangelists. At the back depicts the 14 stations of the cross. I realized I bought the cross at a discounted price of $1.00 in 2016 at Marylake Shrine after crossing the holy door and found no use for it until now. I decided to add three medals: the miraculous medal in honour of Mary; a medal of St. Joseph, my baptismal name and patron; a medal of St. Anthony of Padua with a relic at the back… I have a deep devotion to him.

Making a rosary is a prayerful act in itself. Consider making one for yourself or make one to gift a friend in need. But making the rosary would be pointless if you do not pray with it. I have tried to use it while on the bus, subway or on a walk rather than being on my phone.

Prayer is connecting with God. When we fail to place prayer at the centre of our daily lives, then we remove God from the centre and put Him to the side. Let us find ways to pray so to foster our relationship with God and therefore, strengthen our faith in God.

Read more: The Strength of My Day: Liturgy of the Hours

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