Flat Saints: Saint Luke the Evangelist

During our month of saints, we are hearing the stories of seven different saints from Scripture and tradition and learning about the saints in as many ways as possible. Check out some suggestions here. Come back all this month, for posts about our saints and remember to share what you and your family learn about the saints this month on Facebook with a photo of your flat saint out and about and #CHFSaints.

Saint Luke Paints
A flat Saint Luke, created by one of our students. Here, he is pictured as a painter. Legend has it that Saint Luke, a real-life friend of Mary, the mother of Jesus, painted her first portrait. He is often pictured painting images of the Madonna and child.

Saint Luke the Evangelist (First Century)

Feast day: October 18

Symbols: Book, ox or winged ox, Madonna and child, paintbrushes, icons of Mary and Jesus, physician symbol (snake and rod).

Saint Luke is the writer of the Gospel according to Luke and the Acts of the Apostles. Luke is thought to have been a physician and a painter. We don’t know a whole lot about each of the Gospel writers as there is little information about their lives that is considered historically reliable. We do know from Scripture that Luke was a doctor (Colossians 4:14), a travelling companion of Saint Paul (Philemon 1:24, 2 Timothy 4:11), the author of both the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles, and it is suggested that Luke was probably a Gentile, making him the only non-Jewish Evangelist. Some tradition has suggested that he was also a martyr, but no significant details of his death are known.

An At-home Activity

Icons of the Madonna and Child: Some traditions hold that Saint Luke was a friend of Mary, the mother of Jesus, and that he painted her first portrait. This is why images of Luke often show him painting Mary and Jesus. It is also why Luke is the patron saint of artists and iconographers. (When iconographers paint an icon it is called “writing” an icon.) Create your own image of Mary and Jesus.

Writing an icon is very serious work. It isn’t just painting, an iconographer prays with every stroke, reflecting on the life and work of the person, scene, or story that is depicted and how the story behind the icon points to God. Icons are holy. If you do this activity, do so with a sense of calm and quiet.

“Pick it up and Read”: Saints Monica and Augustine of Hippo

During our month of saints, we are hearing the stories of seven different saints from Scripture and tradition. There are many ways for our students to learn about their Saints (Check out some suggestions here). Come back all this month, for posts about our seven saints and remember to share what you and your family learn about the saints this month on Facebook with a photo of your flat saint out and about and #CHFSaints. We have already covered the story of Mary Magdalene here.

Saint Monica and Augustine of Hippo

“We are made for you, O God, and our hearts are restless until we find our rest in thee.”–Confessions

Augustine wrote more than a hundred books in his lifetime. Some of the most well known are City of God, On the Trinity, On Christian Teaching, and The Confessions.
Augustine wrote more than a hundred books in his lifetime. Some of the most well known are City of God, On the Trinity, On Christian Teaching, and The Confessions.

Monica of Hippo (c. 331-387)

Feast day: August 27

Monica is the mother of Saint Augustine, who writes about her in Confessions. Monica and her prayers were instrumental in Augustine’s religious training and conversion, making her responsible for the spiritual life of one of the Church’s most important theologians.

Symbols: Tears, symbols of prayer (esp. rosary and praying hands). She is sometimes pictured with a scroll that reads, “I cried to the Lord in my distress and he answered me,” from Psalm 120: 1.

Augustine of Hippo (November 13, 354 – August 28, 430)

Feast day: August 28

Saint Augustine was an early Christian theologian, philosopher, and Bishop. After many years of mother Monica’s fervent prayers, Augustine converts at the age of 32 when he hears the voice of a child saying “Pick it up and read,” right before picking up a Bible and reading from Paul’s letter to the Romans.Augustine’s writings remind us that we are made as creatures of desire and love, but fall into sin when our lives are not rightly ordered toward God. Desire and love are not bad; indeed, they are gifts, but desire and love have their proper end and goal in worship of God.

Symbols: He is often shown with a Bishop’s hat or staff, book, pen, pear, or heart. That fabulous hipster scarf? A Bishop’s vestment, called an Omophorion (Check out images of some other bishops, like Nicholas of Myra, here).

Why a pear? In Book II of The Confessions, Augustine discusses an incident in which he and friends stole pears from a neighbor’s tree even though there were better pears at home. He is very concerned with this particular sin, saying: “I loved my fall into sin.”


Young Children: Augustine wrote more than a hundred books in his lifetime and an unknown number of sermons. With small children, try to determine what a hundred books look like by making ten piles of ten books (Take a picture of your saint at the top of the stack and post it with the #CHFSaints).

Older Children: Write out a collect for Augustine’s Feast day from Holy Women, Holy Men (545) below. Then respond to the prayer by journaling ways we might love and serve God. Use the prayer several times over the next week continuing to add ways to love and serve God.

Lord God, the light of the minds that know you, the life of
the souls that love you, and the strength of the hearts that
serve you: Help us, following the example of your servant
Augustine of Hippo, so to know you that we may truly
love you, and so to love you that we may fully serve you,
whom to serve is perfect freedom; through Jesus Christ our
Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Exploring the Stories of the Saints or #CHFSaints

Church School is off to a great start! Three weeks down and we have already worked with the words of Psalm 1, creating a communal illumination that will soon grace the walls in the Commons. Two weeks ago, we began a six week series on the lives and witness of the Saints. In view is All Saints (on a Sunday this year!) as well as two other feast days that land on Sundays, Saint Francis (October 4) and Saint Luke the Evangelist (October 18).

Working with Saints and Art
Some of our 4th and 5th grade students work with images of Mary Magdalene, identifying key symbols and themes from Christian art and iconography.

Our Saint series began with an overview. In their Church School classes children worked with Christian art and iconography in order to identify the symbols of particular saints (Mary Magdalene, Francis and Clare, Luke, Augustine and Monica, Dietrich Bonhoeffer). After working through these saints, each student created a flat version of their favorite.

Mary Magdalene
Here’s a flat Mary Magdalene. She is shown with a jar of perfume, a cross, and a red egg. Want to know why? Come back soon, over the next six weeks, we will post on each of the saints our students are covering.

Saints were laminated and students were given an activity book encouraging them to research their saint in different ways–Checking out a book from the Christian Education library (in the Commons), visiting the North Carolina Museum of Art to look for their and other saints among the religious art in the permanent collection, and coming back to this blog throughout the month as each of the saints is featured.

Our activity also involves taking pictures with the saint throughout the month as families learn different things about their saints, then engaging on Facebook (or Instagram) by posting photos with #CHFSaints. Let’s see how much we can learn about these saints, and more importantly, recognize how their lives point us to the person and work of Christ!

Beyond the Jargon of “Outreach”

By Paul Cizek, Youth Minister

Holy Family has long prioritized “outreach.” We consistently go beyond our campus walls into our surrounding communities and sometimes even abroad. And when we go beyond our walls, we believe we’re following where our Lord Jesus has already gone: to be with the poor, lonely, sick, and imprisoned. Outreach matters in this parish.

But what is “outreach?” A buzzword? Just jargon? “Outreach” is certainly a bit abstract and perhaps a bit vague. So what is it… and why do we do it? Lots of people volunteer or earn service hours. So why do we as a church believe that our outreach has anything to do with following Jesus – with being Christians?

Over the next few months, Holy Family’s youth will have an opportunity to explore these questions through classroom discussions and hands-on experience:

Middle School Sunday School is in the middle of a six week exploration of outreach.  Diane Steinhaus launched the discussion in week 1 with some big questions about outreach (“What is outreach? Why do it?) and in the weeks to come various members of Holy Family will visit the class to share stories and pictures about their work with Habitat for Humanity, Prison Ministry, South Sudan, and more.

Between now and May, middle and high school youth will also have the opportunity to visit Carolina Meadows and the Goodwill Farm.  These two sites were chosen by youth preparing for Confirmation through Youth Journey in Faith.  At the farm, youth will work in a garden that provides food for the poor, and at Carolina Meadows youth will teach residents basic computer/internet skill for keeping in touch with their families (i.e. Skyping).

In all this, pray that “outreach” becomes a concrete and tangible way in which our youth learn to follow Jesus.

The Mystery of the Eucharist

The third quarter of Youth Journey in Faith (yJIF) – our parish Confirmation class for youth – focuses our attention on the mystery of the Eucharist.  By this point in their lives, our youth have consumed a lot of Eucharistic bread and wine.  They can repeat back the words the priest says; they know when the priests bow and when Paula rings the Sanctus bells (and that she loves ringing them!); they’ve brought forward the bread and wine as acolytes and some of them have even helped make bread at home.

Lots of Eucharist in their lives, but how does any of this help them learn to follow Jesus?  Why does Paula ring those Sanctus bells?  Why does “Holy, Holy, Holy” show up in Eucharistic prayers A, B, C, and D?  What does it mean that we “lift up our hearts”?  Did Jesus really mean that the bread and wine were his body and blood… Do we really eat Jesus each week or is this a symbolic act?  And, why do the servers need to finish off the wine left over in the cup?  Lots of Eucharist in our youths’ lives and lots of fruitful questions.

And the third quarter of yJIF is replete with rich opportunities to reflect upon these questions.  We consider a short piece written by former seminarian Fr. Jonathan Melton called, “A Conversation with Bread and Wine.”  One of our clergy will come help us explore the “Whys” behind our Eucharistic actions and language, like “lift up your hearts” and our use of wine (and not grape soda).  We’ll work with the Altar Guild one morning to prepare the altar for the 11:05 liturgy.  And we’ll consider how Rublev’s famous icon of the Holy Trinity (with a chalice near the center) helps us understand what happens to us each Sunday as we share in the Eucharist at Holy Family.