Oh, Dearest Mother, Sweetest Virgin of Altagracia, our Patroness. You are our Advocate and to you we recommend our needs. You are our Teacher and like disciples we come to learn from the example of your holy life. You are our Mother, and like children, we come to offer you all of the love of our hearts. Receive, dearest Mother, our offerings and listen attentively to our supplications. Amen.



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MaryM
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Posted: May 15 2006 at 12:42am | IP Logged Quote MaryM

In reading The Easter Book by Fr. F.X. Weiser I was reminded of the tradition (which I probably heard about here) in some countries of mountain climbing or picnicing on hill tops on the Feast of the Ascension. So I decided to set up a field trip for our local support group to go to a local shrine that is located atop of one of the foothills outside of Denver and have a picnic on that day. I wanted to incorpoate some other symbolic activities. In another thread Gwen mentioned flying kites and blowing bubbles as activities that would be good for that day. I don't think kite flying would work at this location so we'll likely try the bubbles - unfortunately they usually pop before they float away. I really would like to release helium ballons, but know that it is frowned on environmentally. Does anyone have any ideas that would be more along that line - any environmentally sound options?

I wish I had enough money to spend on doing a dove release from one of those companies. We recently saw a release of about 70 white pigeons at a bird festival. It was powerful experience and would be a great way to celebrate Ascencion - maybe another time.

So anyway, any additional Ascension ideas would be great.

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Posted: May 15 2006 at 7:51am | IP Logged Quote JennGM

What lovely ideas, Mary! I want to be on your picnic. But when I read your subject line, I grieved. It's not Ascension Thursday in so many places now.

A butterfly release? Can you do that?

When we go to Trader Joes, ds always leaves with a balloon. This company worries about the environment and these balloons are environmentally friendly, that break down easily. Perhaps you can find some like that?

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Posted: May 15 2006 at 10:24am | IP Logged Quote MaryM

JennGM wrote:
A butterfly release? Can you do that?


I did think of that, but not with enough time to raise any butterflies for release. Maybe we could try to catch some - though we usually don't have too much luck.

We don't have a Trader Joe's here, but I have heard tell of some balloons that break down a little sooner - thing was they still didn't sound like they were recommended. I'll have to check into it further.

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Posted: May 15 2006 at 10:27am | IP Logged Quote MaryM

JennGM wrote:
A butterfly release? Can you do that?


I did think of that, but not with enough time to raise any butterflies for release. Maybe we could try to catch some - though we usually don't have too much luck.

We don't have a Trader Joe's here, but I have heard tell of some balloons that break down a little sooner - thing was they still didn't sound like they were recommended. I'll have to check into it further.

JennGM wrote:
But when I read your subject line, I
grieved. It's not Ascension Thursday in so many places now.
I know - it isn't here either, but we are going to celebrate it Thursday anyway!

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Posted: May 15 2006 at 10:41am | IP Logged Quote Dawn

What about cloud watching (while lying on your backs) or perhaps blowing dandelion puffs (you could always import some if there are none at the shrine )?


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Posted: May 15 2006 at 10:53am | IP Logged Quote MaryM

Dawn wrote:
What about cloud watching (while lying on your backs) or perhaps blowing dandelion puffs (you could always import some if there are none at the shrine )?


That's great idea - though I'm sure they would love the imported "puffs". The greatest "puffs", I think, are milkweed pod seeds, but it's not the right season for those.

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Posted: May 15 2006 at 11:24am | IP Logged Quote Dawn

MaryM wrote:
That's great idea - though I'm sure they would love the imported "puffs". The greatest "puffs", I think, are milkweed pod seeds, but it's not the right season for those.


Oh, goodness, you're right! That would be very rude!

What about making ribbon or crepe paper streamers (attach them to a dowel or paper towel tube) or windsocks to run with and let the wind play with?

You could make simple windsocks using construction paper and crepe streamers ~ decorate blue paper with cloud paintings or cotton balls to represent the sky, attach blue or white streamers from the bottom ~ then run!

Somewhere I read daisies are associated with the Ascension ~ you could make daisy chains or crowns or say the rosary on the petals together ...

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Posted: May 15 2006 at 11:59am | IP Logged Quote MaryM

Oh, thanks Dawn. I love the crepe paper streamers idea - it is very simple that's what I need right now.

The daisy ideas are wonderful as well though I don't think my daisies will be blooming yet. Let me know if you remember where you read the Ascensioin connection - that's cool.

Also, I found this site about balloon releases which makes it sound like it's not too bad - but this is the balloon industry. Clearly both extremes (the industry vs. the environmentalists) have opposite views.


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Posted: May 15 2006 at 2:10pm | IP Logged Quote Dawn

MaryM wrote:
The daisy ideas are wonderful as well though I don't think my daisies will be blooming yet. Let me know if you remember where you read the Ascensioin connection - that's cool.


Well color me pink, because it looks like I was one feast too early! Daisies are associated with Pentecost while dandelions are fitting the Ascension!

I found all this info in one or two British books I have ...
Here's a bit from Festivals for Children:

Dandelion Puffs:

"All children love the dandelion with its many golden, sunlike blossoms! On an Ascension walk with the children, we can let the children pick dandelion puffs and blow the seeds with their little stars into the wide world. This works best when done from a small hilltop with a slight wind blowing. The festival of Ascension is threatened with extinction through neglect. Yet, all those who have experienced, even a little bit, the greatness if this ten-day festival will want to do all they can to plant in the hearts of children a seed of understanding for the tremendous meaning of this event."

Whitsun Festival Table:

"Flowers are particularly well suited as nature's contribution. Daisies or other flowers belonging to the composite family, that is plants whose blossoms are composed of many florets growing together on a central disk, are best. These are flowers consisting of many individual blossoms which spring from a common base."

And finally, I was posting some flower photos on my garden blog today and found out that LILACS are known as Ascension Flowers! But I can't seem to find out why ... I'll let you know if I do find out!

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Posted: May 15 2006 at 2:33pm | IP Logged Quote MacBeth

How about bubbles?

[edit] I see Mary mentioned them in her first post...I love bubbles.

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Posted: May 15 2006 at 2:41pm | IP Logged Quote JennGM

Dawn wrote:
MaryM wrote:
The daisy ideas are wonderful as well though I don't think my daisies will be blooming yet. Let me know if you remember where you read the Ascensioin connection - that's cool.


Well color me pink, because it looks like I was one feast too early! Daisies are associated with Pentecost while dandelions are fitting the Ascension!

I found all this info in one or two British books I have ... Here's a bit from Festivals for Children:


Dawn, I have not heard of this book. Can you give a review? It sound great. And what other British book are you referring to?

Dawn wrote:
And finally, I was posting some flower photos on my garden blog today and found out that LILACS are known as Ascension Flowers! But I can't seem to find out why ... I'll let you know if I do find out!


I saw that and was going to ask you your information.

I looked and couldn't find anything but this simple explanation from Tussie-Mussies:
As pagan festivals were Christianized, so each plant and flower was given a Christian identity. Saints were assigned whatever flower happened to be blooming on their feast days. Thus Saint George, in April, was given the harebell; Saint Michael the Archangel, in September, the aster.


And from "Mary's Flowers" and "Medieval English Gardens" came the information that the snowdrop is also called "Candlemas Bells" in the Middle Ages, because it bloomed around the feast of Candlemas, and the bell-shaped flowers.

So perhaps since Ascension is mostly in May, and lilacs bloom mostly in May.....

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Posted: May 15 2006 at 3:08pm | IP Logged Quote JennGM

You have my interest piqued, Dawn. My searching came up with two leads:

Alien Flower Lilac in Poland where "Ascension Flower" is just another English name for the lilac.

John Stokes at Mary Gardens talks about Candlemas Day, but leads in with something that confirms my other quote:
A number of the medieval Flowers of Our Lady have been associated with the feasts or seasons of the liturgical year for which they are in bloom, and for which their characteristic forms or colors have been seen as symbols.

Such flowers include Christmas Rose, Candlemas Bells, Annunciation Lily, Lent Lily, Easter Lily, Ascension Flower, Pentecost Flower, Corpus Christi Flower, Assumption Flower, All Saints Flower and also numerous flowers of the saints.

Another reason that this flower would be pinned down to the Ascension is that it points upward to heaven.

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Posted: May 15 2006 at 3:37pm | IP Logged Quote JennGM

Back to your original question, Mary, I have another idea from Bad Catholic's Guide to Good Living. They mention some people set off rockets. How about some homemade science projects?

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Posted: May 15 2006 at 10:46pm | IP Logged Quote momwise

Sorry...I'm just now getting around here. I think the bubbles idea is good. Would rockets be a fire hazard( because if so they'd be banned)? I looked through all my books but I'm sure they're all the same ones Jenn's already looked at. Another idea is to start the Holy Spirit novena at the shrine. I'm looking forward to it; I hope I remembered to RSVP!

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Posted: May 16 2006 at 11:07am | IP Logged Quote amyable

I wish I could remember the exact ingredients, but last year my kids made a "rocket" with a film canister, half an alka-selzer tablet in it, and water (?) added? Then the lid was closed, the canister turned upside down (lid down) and you ran!    Maybe someone knows the exact directions?

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Posted: May 16 2006 at 11:25am | IP Logged Quote MacBeth

amyable wrote:
I wish I could remember the exact ingredients, but last year my kids made a "rocket" with a film canister, half an alka-selzer tablet in it, and water (?) added? Then the lid was closed, the canister turned upside down (lid down) and you ran!    Maybe someone knows the exact directions?


discussion and variation on a rocket theme here.

This month's Popular Science has directions for a cookie or candy bar powered rocket, but they suggest that one not try it at home.

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Posted: May 16 2006 at 12:42pm | IP Logged Quote MichelleM



Mary,

I love the bubble idea!

During Lent we visited the Shrine (I'm assuming your visiting Mother Cabrini) and I recall seeing dandelions although they probably have not gone to seed. However our Lilacs are just about to bloom! I canít wait to smell them in the air. I always image that is how the Blessed Mother smells!

I've been thinking of other options for the feast and while this is very impractical for this year, I thought it might work for next year. What if all the support groups "went in together" to rent a hot air balloon for a couple of hours to celebrate the Ascension? (I know it is quite costly but perhaps a large group would be more affordable than the cost for a family to do it individually.)

I was thinking that a hot air balloon would be a wonderful way to explain the difference between the Ascension and the Assumption. Just imagine Jesus being the hot air balloon and Mary being the passenger. Jesus ascended to heaven by his own power while Mary was assumed into heaven by God's power.

I also love the idea of flying kites although, perhaps, it is most appropriate for Pentecost. (The Holy Spirit came as a rushing wind.) Iíve noticed the last few Pentecostís have been quite windy!





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Posted: May 28 2006 at 4:28pm | IP Logged Quote JennGM

MaryM wrote:
In reading The Easter Book by Fr. F.X. Weiser I was reminded of the tradition (which I probably heard about here) in some countries of mountain climbing or picnicing on hill tops on the Feast of the Ascension. So I decided to set up a field trip for our local support group to go to a local shrine that is located atop of one of the foothills outside of Denver and have a picnic on that day. I wanted to incorpoate some other symbolic activities.


MaryM, how did the picnic go? What grand things did you decide to do? Pictures?

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Posted: May 28 2006 at 5:12pm | IP Logged Quote MaryM

JennGM wrote:
MaryM, how did the picnic go? What grand things did you decide to do? Pictures?


We had a fabulous time - the weather was great and so was the company. We lunched near the visitor center then climbed the stairs to the shrine at the top of the hill. It's quite a climb so we really did some "ascending." There are the Stations of the Cross and then the Mysteries of the Rosary along the path. We stopped at the Ascension mystery stop and Gwen's daughter read the Ascension reading from Acts. We then released balloons (did some investigating and decided that if we cut the string off and weren't over any oceans it wasn't really bad environmentally ) We had 7 balloons, representing the seven gifts of the Spirit which we would be praying for during our novena to the Holy Spirit. It was fun to watch them float away. We then continued our climb to the top and had bubbles for the kids to blow. It was great fun.

And since I do have my new camera, I have pictures , but will have to get Tim's help to post. I posted them to our local Yahoo Group but only those who are subscribed can view them unfortunately.

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Posted: May 28 2006 at 6:10pm | IP Logged Quote JennGM

MaryM wrote:
JennGM wrote:
MaryM, how did the picnic go? What grand things did you decide to do? Pictures?


We had a faboulous time - the weather was great and so was the company. We lunched near the visitor center then climbed the stairs to the shrine at the top of the hill. It's quite a climb so we really did some "ascending."


We visited there on the WYD in Denver trip. It is quite a climb!

MaryM wrote:
And since I do have my new camera, I have pictures , but will have to get Tim's help to post.


Sounds wonderful! Looking forward to seeing some photos.

You mentioning the long ascent up the stairs reminded me of another spot I've just been recently that would be nice for next year's Ascension...that is, if we're traveling to PA. We just revisited Horseshoe Curve in Altoona, which has the stairs to climb or the funicular to go up. Also in Pittsburgh are the other funiculars, such as the Duquesne Incline. Lots of fun, but to bring in the ascending aspect....hmmmm, I like it!

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