First Day of Summer

Happy First Day of Summer to all of our readers! It’s all about swimming pools, the beach and enjoying the warmer weather! We find that we have more time in our day to enjoy the little things like attending a ball game after work, or going to a splash park during the evening to watch the sunset. This week we’ll be dedicating our blog to those who know how to enjoy summer!

Spontaneity

When the sun is out longer at night, we seem to find that we have more time on our hands. How often to you drive home from work and think what you can do that night? I ask myself that question each evening driving home! One night maybe attend a minor league baseball game, another evening take a long hike along some local trails, and maybe go down to the shore for some pizza and a sunset. The summer is filled with spontaneous nights like this!

Fun Activities

If you are like many of us this summer, sometimes you do not always have the time or finances to be able to go for a week-long vacation – sometimes a long weekend or day trips may have to suffice. That is where fun activities come into play!

Each morning you can check local tour guidebooks or magazines to see what is going on locally during the weekend. Sometimes it’s a farmers market, other times it is special hikes; one of my favorites was seeing paddle boarding lessons for beginners. There is always something new to try during the summer!

Other fun activities could be visiting the zoo, going to the beach for a day or enjoying a picnic with family and friends. Keep an eye out for different blogs or websites with different activities to do! There is always something out there!

Make a List

This is such a fun idea! Create a list and check off an item as you go along. Some of the items could be go on a roller coaster, blow bubbles outside, pick fresh fruit at a farm, sit on a porch swing and so on… Have your list handy and check them off as you go along. Be creative and have fun with it!

Needless to say, summer is one of our favorite times of the year! Enjoy the extra sunshine and fun! We’ll be out there enjoying it too!

The Secret Life of Parish Giving Pets

We thought we’d give our readers a part 2 to our Pet Rescue blog. Animals are a soft spot for most of us on the social media team, and we thought we would share some stories of our loveable pets!

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Baccalaureate Mass

June is a month filled with graduations. Whether it is high school, middle school, elementary or pre-school, young people of all ages are celebrating a huge milestone in their lives. At many Catholic schools it is often celebrated with a Baccalaureate Mass the day before. There are many reasons as to why schools celebrate with a Baccalaureate Mass; these are just a few.

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Pet Rescue

As you can see from previous blogs we are animal lovers here at Parish Giving. We love to rescue and adopt all pets. Some of them are conventional like dogs and cats, while others are less orthodox like horses and pigs. Either way, we know the importance of sharing our lives with an animal that needs us.

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Memorial Day

Upon recently glancing at my calendar I saw that Memorial Day weekend is upon us! The weather is warm, cookouts are a nightly event and we are finally able to wear our favorite summer clothing and sandals. This also means a busy weekend is ahead of us: parades, services for fallen soldiers and a family bar-be-que. Can’t wait!

Memorial Day parade

To me it’s not Memorial Day without our town parade. The first one was back in 1885, and people have been enjoying it since! I participated in it growing up whether on a float, or marching with my peers for an organization. Now I enjoy being a spectator and admiring the floats, marching bands and all the classic cars!

After the parade is a service in the town park. There is a memorial in which a veteran lays a wreath or flowers down on and the school bands play in the background. Then everyone has a moment of silence and reflects the true meaning of Memorial Day.

Many towns across America have similar traditions. What does your town do?

Services

As mentioned before, we hold a service in our town park for those who have fought for their country. There are also services at your local church. Many chaplains celebrate with a short service at a military graveyard or a local cemetery. It’s nice to know that there are different ways to honor those who have fallen during war, or those who have lost someone from their military unit. That is what Memorial Day is for.

Bar-be-que

Yes, this is perhaps my favorite part of Memorial Day weekend! I know Saturday morning I’ll be putting my fiesta beans in the crock pot, and get ready to grill all weekend long! Plenty of pasta salads, grilled entrees and lots of fresh fruit salad! It’s especially nice when you can enjoy it outside in the sunshine!

This is what Memorial Day weekend is about to me. What is this weekend about to you?

Gardens

April showers bring May flowers. It’s that time of the year where our gardens are getting planted and flowers are beginning to bloom. The air is becoming more fragrant and our yards are bright and colorful. What a beautiful time of the year! Church gardens are no exception, and Parish Giving is here to help!

Parish Garden

I love looking at pictures of gardens from different church bulletins. The perfectly manicured lawns and the different flowers always flow so nicely together. I especially love when they are able to capture butterflies or bird’s nests. On the same note, their gardens are difficult to keep up with; lots of tending to and money go into them. Why not try one of our online forms for a fundraiser?

We offer different kinds of online forms for raising money, or for flower/plant donations. You can even raise money with our forms for memorial plaques or small statues for loved ones. It’s a small idea that can grow very nicely!

School children

It’s important to teach school children about gardens at a young age. They can learn to appreciate plants, flowers and the creatures that live in it. One of our parishes, Holy Family in Hicksville, NY, demonstrated how to take care of an abandoned robin’s egg. They help create a bird’s nest for it in hopes that the egg will hatch. Teaching them responsibility to help grow and nurture what is growing about them, whether plant or bird helps them grow as adults in the church. They become more caring and loving themselves.

Communities

Some towns and cities have community gardens. Your parish garden should be part of it. Having others tending to it allows it to grow and have different plants throughout the season. This also helps more families and people new to the area adapt to their new home. Why not host a community garden day to help your garden grow in more ways than one?

As you can see gardens are more than just about plants and flowers; it’s about the community and teaching. If you are interested in hosting a community garden day, contact us and we’ll advertise it on our numerous social media platforms – we can even come up with a form for donations too! Parish Giving is here for all of your garden and community needs!

Feel free to send us pictures of your parish garden! We love seeing the flowers blossoming and seeing the different varieties of colors used!

Teacher Appreciation Week

The first full week of May brings Teacher Appreciation Week. Since it’s towards the end of the school year, it is a great time to reminisce and think about all the things that your teacher or teachers have done for their students. It does not matter if they are their grade school teacher, religious education teacher or an extra-curricular teacher. They all bring something to the classroom.

Parochial School Teacher

 Catholic school teachers are amazing! Not only do they work long hours, come up with lesson plans, grade papers, and other things that all teachers do, but they also help prepare students to become adults in the Catholic Church. They help to prepare them for their First Communion and Confirmation, and teach them lessons about the Catholic religion. In many schools they play multiple parts and wear many hats. That is why we appreciate all Catholic school teachers!

Religious Education Teachers

What would we do without RE teachers? With numerous Catholic schools combining or closing, sometimes all we have is Religious Education for our students. We would be lost without our RE teachers then. They help students understand the readings, teach them prayers and help them receive their sacraments each year. Often RE teachers are volunteers from the parish who may not have any teaching experience; they just enjoy teaching young people about being Catholic and the church. We’d be lost without these teachers!

Extra-Curricular Teachers

Whether it is art, music, gym or an after school sport, extra-curricular teachers take additional time out of their day to help students grow into young adults. They teach them additional lessons like team work, camaraderie, goals and so much more. These are the teachers who help shape their students and encourage them to keep striving for more and to never give up. Thank you to all the extra-curricular teachers out there!

Do you have a Catholic school or Religious Education program? Parish Giving has Tuition Simplified and online registration forms to make signing up and paying even easier! Contact us to find out more information – info@parishgiving.org or 866-307-7140.

May Day

Happy May Day! May 1st around the world is celebrated as May Day. It is a prominent holiday celebrated in the Northern Hemisphere, but mostly in European countries and North America. Think typical spring festivals like singing, traditional dances and maypoles! The holiday dates back over millennia ago, and has many different origin and traditions! Let’s explore some!

Two of my favorite traditions originate in Scotland! The young, unwed women in Edinburgh trek up to the top of Arthur’s Seat to wash their faces with the morning dew on the grass. This helps to keep their youthful beauty! In Saint Andrew the university students go to the beach the night of April 30th so that when the sunrises May Day they run into the North Sea.

In England there are many celebrations, and even have a May Queen. There is a maypole, along with numerous dances that date back to the 14th Century. Oxford, Durham, Cornwall and numerous other English towns participate in these festivals! If you are visiting a medieval town around this time of the year in England, be sure to participate! Maybe you will even be named the May Queen!

Many women’s colleges in the US participated in May Day festivities. Two that still continues the traditions are Bryn Mawr College and Brenau University. At Bryn Mawr they sing the Dar Williams song “As Cool As I Am” for the May Day celebration which happens the Sunday after classes end in. They also gather for the “May Hole” celebration which is a feminist answer to the maypole. At Brenau University they celebrate a student from each state for their May Day festivities. They celebrate it a bit earlier in April due to exams being in May!

Since May Day has been around for over a millennia, it is often seen as a Pagan holiday. It is also closely associated with the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Catholic faith since the 18th Century. You will often see Mary adorned with flowers during the May crowning, which occurs in May.   

As you can see May Day is a popular holiday around the globe. Join some of the festivities, or create your own! Attend a May crowning mass, be your own May Queen, or create a maypole with some friends! The possibilities are endless!

Really Cool Reasons to use PG

As you probably remember, we have a 10 Really Cool Reasons to use Parish Giving blog already. We thought why not update it to make it more relevant for our readers! Over the past year we’ve grown (but just the right amount!) and expanded in our marketplace! Take a look and see what’s new!

10. You call, we answer! If you give us a call, you will be greeted by a friendly voice! Whether it is about an event for social media to paying tuition online, we are here to help you! If you have to leave a message, you can be sure that one of us will give you a call back as soon as we can!

9. Use us for our social media! If your parish uses Parish Giving for online giving, we will advertise any church event for you! Just give us the details, and we will create a post online and advertise it at least once a week! Extra online traffic means more people knowing about the event! We are currently on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram! Check us out today!

8. Our forms! What better way to sign up for church events than with online forms? Everything is in one place, and no need to wait in line with a check. Now you can just enter all of your details in the form, put in your bank details or credit/debit card, and you are done. You will receive an email confirmation so you know everything is complete. If you do not receive an email, just call and we’ll happily assist!

As a side note, if you work for the parish office, the online forms help keep you organized too! No more large piles of paper! Instead we have easy to locate spreadsheets!

7. You have options. Who said you have to have your account automatically debited each week? We allow one time transactions as well so you can have control on how much you want to give and how often.

6. Auto debited each week. At the same time, you can have the same amount taken out each week. You do not even have to think about it, we take care of it for you. Since many of your other bills (think mortgage/rent, car payment, etc.) are automatically taken out, why not just have one less to worry about giving to?

5. We are either in your area, or coming to your area! You may think that because we are located in New Jersey that we only service local areas like Pennsylvania, New York and Delaware. Well that’s not true! We have customers as far west as California, as far north as New Hampshire, as far south as Florida and everywhere in between!

4. We love Catholic Schools! One of our online forms is to pay school tuition online. Our selling point for parents – we have zero late fees! We understand that sometimes things come up, and that it is a sacrifice for each family to pay their child’s tuition each month. We have children in Catholic schools so we understand what parents are going through.

3. We’re a GREAT team! Because we are the perfect size, we have many hats. All are customer service oriented, while others specialize in marketing, creative and tech. If you have a question, one of us has the answer!

2. Customized forms. We are able to create an online form for whatever you need one for. Have a CYO team starting? We can create one. Want to host a beef and beer? We have forms for that. Have a centennial celebration? We got you covered! Just let us know and we can customize any form for whatever you need.

1. Giving to your parish is cool! Plain and simple.

Notre-Dame Cathedral

*Originally this blog post was supposed to be about events during Holy week. With the news yesterday about the fire at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, it seemed more appropriate to write about the tragedy. Notre-Dame is not only one of the most popular tourist attractions in the world, but it is also an important site for Catholic’s and Christian’s alike. Let’s give it the attention it deserves.

My first time in Paris was when I was 20 years old. I went with EF Tours – a company that provides tours geared towards students at a reasonable cost. I went with my French class and some fashion students from the college I was attending at the time. It was my first time out of the country and I was excited beyond words. It was a couple of months after the Sex and the City finale so we all had Carrie Bradshaw on our minds – eat at a patisserie, visit museums and see all the sites! The list of sites included the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre and of course, Notre-Dame. Check, check and check!

Upon hearing on the news yesterday that the Spire at Notre-Dame was on fire, all I could think about were the priceless artifacts and priceless memories I had in Paris. When you are not certain of how the fire would turn out, you always imagine the worst and then are thankful that you can always say, “at least I was there”. The news has given us hope that all is not lost.

Many ponder, “What makes Notre-Dame so important?” It’s the priceless artifacts, the countless pieces of artwork, the beautiful stain glassed windows, and the heritage of not only the French, but of Catholic’s as well.  It has stood where it is for over 800 years, a fete not easily achieved because of two world wars and the French Revolution. It truly signifies French beauty and history.

The roof and part of the interior were made of wood, which diminished in the fire. Already millions of Euros have been pledged to rebuild the cathedral. Since it is a UNESCO World Heritage site, there is an international appeal for funds to help restore it. If you’d like to make a donations visit Heritage Foundation. All donations are tax deductible and there are no added fees.

Let’s try to keep this Heritage site alive and try to rebuild what was destroyed for future generations. We do not want to “remember when”, but rather “let’s revisit” Notre-Dame in Paris.