Week Five

Thanks in All Circumstances

Hipόlita Moctezuma is a wife and mother living in the Diocese of Suchitepéquez-Retalhuleu. The photos on this page show you a few things about her family’s life.

On the outside of Hipόlita’s home, there are pieces of concrete blocks on top of the roof. Can you spot them? These are supposed to weigh the roof down and keep it from blowing away in the wind — but that doesn’t always work, and that is why they fear tropical storms.

On the inside of the home, there are items hanging from the ceiling. Can you point to them now?

The Moctezuma-Dupont family stands outside their current home. The roof is weighted down by fragments of concrete block, and their wood-and-tarp walls offer little protection. A new house would change their lives!

The Moctezuma-Dupont family hangs their possessions from the rafters to protect them from water damage and pests.

Hipόlita’s family must hang their food and clothing high to protect them from water, insects, mice and other critters that might enter the house. Imagine tying up all your toys, clothing and school supplies just to keep them safe!

Still, Hipόlita thanks God for the gifts he has given her — her life, her family and each new day. She is a great example of someone who gives thanks in all circumstances, even as she prays and waits for a miracle.

As you celebrate the Octave of Christmas, spend some time thinking about the Holy Family. If possible, use a nativity scene to help visualize the night of Christ’s birth. 

In the stable, there were animals. There might’ve been bugs. It was not the most comfortable place to sleep. In the same way, people like Hipόlita may not have comfortable homes, but they often find things to be thankful for anyway. As a family, spend some time sharing what you are most thankful for this week.

Gospel Reading from Christmas Mass at Dawn

Luke 2:1-14 (NRSVCE)

In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

 In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”

Take Action: Circle of Thanks

Give everyone in your home a handful of coins and pass your collection box from person to person. Each time the box comes to you, name something in your home or apartment that you are thankful for and place a coin in the box. Keep going until you run out of coins! Since this is the last week, count up all the dollars and coins in your box and either give them to your parish or group leader, or donate that amount below.


Nativity Scene Craft

Draw, paint or use other craft supplies to create a nativity scene. Parents, take a picture of the nativity scene and tag Cross Catholic Outreach on social media using #AdventTransformation.

Learning Corner

About one-fifth of Guatemala’s population does not have improved sanitation. This means many families have no bathroom. In the United States, where we live, it is almost unheard of to find a home without a bathroom. Because poor families have no bathroom in their house, they often have to go outside or put their waste in a hole in the ground. When this happens, bacteria and other bad things seep into the ground and can poison the water they take from nearby wells (which are also holes in the ground). This can make families sick.

The homes you’re helping build will also include sanitary latrines (a kind of bathroom) to help keep families healthy. The latrines will also make them feel safer, more dignified and more comfortable at home.

*Fact Source: CIA World Factbook

Family Discussion

1. What stood out to you in the pictures of Hipόlita’s home? What did you notice about it?

2. How would you feel if all your things got wet whenever it was stormy — your toys, your bed, everything?

3. Think about the Holy Family on the night of Jesus’ birth. What do you think it was like in the stable? What are some of the things they might have been feeling that night?

4. Consider Our Holy Mother’s grace, gentleness and acceptance of God’s will — even in hard times. Then, think about Hipόlita, who chooses to be thankful even though she does not have a nice home. What are some things you can do to stay thankful in hard times? Use the prayer on this page to ask Our Lady for grace and help with this.

Pray Together

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thine intercession was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother. To thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful.

O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.

Proceeds from this campaign will be used to cover any expenditures incurred through June 30, 2023, the close of our ministry’s fiscal year. In the event that more funds are raised than needed to fully fund the project, the excess funds, if any, will be used to meet the most urgent needs of the ministry.