November 19:  I found these following "Eight Steps Toward a More Satisfying Life" that I thought were good for the squirrels, the rabbits and just about anyone else that might want to improve their livelihood.  Here are the Eight Steps:

1. Count your blessings.
2. Practice acts of kindness.
3. Savor life's joys.
4. Thank a mentor.
5. Learn to forgive.
6. Invest time and energy in friends and family.
7. Take care of your body.
8. Develop strategies for coping with stress and hardship. 

And because the readings are all about being prepared, I thought I’d add one more step, a 9th Step to the strategy: Be prepared. Be prepared to step off life's planned paths, and trust the Spirit. After all, the Spirit can appear in many guises, disguises, and surprises.

November 12:  On November 2 the Church celebrated the Feast of All Souls, when we remember all who have died.  During the month of November, Catholics continue to pray for the deceased, trusting them to God’s loving mercy.   To some people, this doesn’t appear to make much sense. Once someone has passed on, they’re in God’s hands, so what’s the point in all that prayer? They’re facing God’s judgment, so what can our prayers accomplish anyway? Well, we believe they can accomplish a lot.

First of all, Catholics believe in Purgatory. Without going in to too much detail, this means that some of us aren’t ready for heaven when we die, and aren’t evil enough to face eternal damnation. So, some period of purification is necessary before we’re ready to face God’s glory. In part, our prayers for the deceased ask God to show mercy to those souls.

But our prayers for the deceased are not only prayers of supplication. They are also prayers of praise, which remind us of God’s goodness and mercy. If you listen closely to the prayers at a Catholic funeral, you’ll hear a clear expression of our hope in the resurrection.
As Christ rose from the dead, so will we rise with him at the end of time.

And that’s the Good News!! 

November 5:  Ha ha ha ha – I’m still laughing at the story one of my Dad’s  parishioners sent to him!  I told the squirrels about the problems these churches were having with squirrels …   Well, all my squirrel friends decided to stay far away from the Synagogues in the area!  Read on as to how The Presbyterians, Baptists and Catholics tried to solve their problems with squirrels:

The Presbyterian Church called a meeting to decide what to do about their squirrels. After prayer and consideration, they concluded the squirrels were predestined to be there and they shouldn't interfere with God's divine will. At the Baptist Church, the squirrels had taken an interest in the baptistery. The deacons met and decided to put a water slide on the baptistery and let the squirrels drown themselves. The squirrels liked the slide and, unfortunately, knew instinctively how to swim so twice as many squirrels showed up the following week. The Methodist Church decided that they were not in a position to harm any of God's creatures. So, they humanely trapped their squirrels and set them free near the Baptist Church.  Two weeks later the squirrels were back when the Baptists took down the water slide.  But the Catholic Church came up with a very creative strategy. They baptized all the squirrels and consecrated them as members of the church. Now they only see them at Christmas and Easter.

Not much was heard from the Jewish Synagogue; they took the first squirrel and circumcised him. They haven't seen a squirrel since.

October 29:  The squirrels are already starting to get nervous because this Tuesday is Halloween and they’re scared of the ghosts and goblins that may roam the neighborhood. Well, I had a sit-down with them and told them that Halloween really is a Catholic Holiday, a commemoration of All Saints Day and remembering the dead.  Halloween is a word derived from the old words ‘All Hallows Day.’ Hallow is an old word for saint and today we call November 1st All Saints Day. In the 4th century the Church began to celebrate the feast to all the martyrs. At first it was celebrated on the 1st Sunday after Pentecost (in late May or early June).  Pope Gregory III in the 8th century made November 1st a feast to remember all saints and it became known as All Saints Day or All Hallows Day!
Over time Halloween evolved into a secular holiday incorporating traditions of ancient festivals of the Celtic people who would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward of what they believed were ghosts returning at the end of their year, which was close to November 1st. It can have dark connotations (which the squirrels were nervous about), but more than anything its just a fun time for people to dress up, go into their neighborhoods and trick or treat.
So if you’re in our neighborhood I’m thinking it would be really scary if you’d stop by Sacred Heart and throw a few acorns and nuts out for the squirrels and, of course, leave the tricking behind, but bring me the treats!!! 
Happy Halloween!!

For more of Maggie's musings, see our online bulletin archives.  Maggie's column appears on page 3.