Skip to main content


Showing posts from August, 2006

Keeping Your Kids Catholic Discussion Group Starting

About four weeks ago I wrote about struggling with the choice of teaching seventh grade CCD or working to start an adult education program Our DRE was supportive of trying to teach provide education for the parents but really needed help with the kids’ classes. I agreed to do seventh grade this year with an eye towards working on a parent education program in the future.

With that in mind, I am going to try an experiment. I am going to offer an on-line discussion of the book Keeping Your Kids Catholic by Bert Ghezzi. This is a great collection of essays by a variety of authors. It covers Catholic parenting issues from toddlers to teens. I would love to include both new parents and experienced parents in the exchange of ideas. Let’s share our challenges, questions, and success stories.

Our CCD classes start on September 12. I am going to invite my students' parents to be part of the discussion so beginning September 20, I will cover one chapter every week. The end of each chapter ha…

Parent Letter from a Catechist

I am going to be teaching seventh grade CCD this year. We do most of the preparation for confirmation during this year since Confirmation is usually scheduled for the fall of the eighth grade year.I have composed a letter to the parents to try and keep them active in their children's religious education. I thought I would post it here and get your feedback before I send it out in a couple of weeks.

I am privileged to be your child’s seventh grade CCD teacher for the 2006-2007 school year. This is a very important year. We will focus on your child’s preparation for confirmation. Of course, you have already been preparing your child for this sacrament for many years. You are the primary catechist for your child. You show how important your Faith is by making Mass attendance a top priority and by family prayer.

Confirmation is one of the Sacraments of Initiation. It is a beginning. It is not a graduation. This year we will work to solidify the foundation of your child’s Catholic Faith.…

Georgetown's sudden concern with "Catholic" identity

Joseph Bottum offers commentary about Georgetown University’s decision to ban outside religious ministries from the Georgetown campus. They cannot use the campus for meetings or use Georgetown in their name.

But now, at last, Georgetown has rediscovered its Catholicism, at least long enough for a Protestant employee of Campus Ministries to send a letter to six evangelical groups, kicking them off campus. The story made the Washington Post and the Washington Times this weekend, with the kind of headlines the public-relations office hates to see: “Georgetown Bars Ministries from Campus,” “Georgetown U. Ejects Private Ministry Groups.”

According to the Washington Times, “the decision—which affects a few hundred students belonging to six Christian groups—forbids the ministries from having any ‘activity or presence’ on campus, including worship services, retreats or helping students move into their dorms. The groups also are prohibited from using the Georgetown name in publicity.”

Mr. Bottum …

Empty Places at the Dinner Table

Like so many of us these day, (Julie D., Argent) Rebecca Hagelin is reflecting on the departure of her child for college. Our family’s drop from the summer count of four kids to the school year count of two kids is most noticeable at the dinner table. Two years ago it took a long time for us to remember to grab 5 plates instead of six. Now we are down to four. Ms. Hagelin notices the same thing.

I know in my heart that it's the time we spent together as a family that has best prepared Drew to enter the world on his own. As I stare at his empty seat across the dining room table, I'm overcome with gratitude that we fought the culture and demands of our busy world to bring our family together for those precious evening hours. It wasn't easy, and the dinners weren't always fun and games. But it was those hours spent together over the years that our children learned of our unfailing love, our deep faith in God, our parental expectations. In those hours, they came to experie…

What should girl altar servers wear?

I have mentioned several times that I am not happy to now have girls as altar servers in the Arlington Diocese. I do not think it added any benefit and I do think it has the potential for harm. However, since they are here, I will make the best of it. Our parish is one of several in the diocese that has decided to not expand the altar server corps to include girls. Of course with one hundred altar servers there really isn’t a need to expand the group.

This evening we went to Sunday evening Mass at St. Bernadette’s in Springfield. This is a fairly orthodox parish so I was a little surprised to see three girl altar servers of about 14 years of age as well as two little boys about 10 years old. All five servers were dressed in albs. (Bishop Loverde appropriately specified that girls would not wear the cassock and surplice) I could tell the boys were both in dress slacks and dress shoes. One of the girls was teetering on white high-heeled sandals. One girl was wearing frayed jeans and fl…

Five Person Meme

Five People in Five Categories Meme

Michelle at Rosetta Stone tagged me so here goes:

"If you could meet and have a deep conversation with any five people on earth, living or dead, from any time period, who would they be?" (Explaining why is optional.)

Name five people from each of the following categories: Saints, Those in the Process of Being Canonized, Heroes from your native country, Authors/Writers, celebrities.

Five Saints:

1. St. Therese of Lisieux
2. St. Michael the Archangel
3. St. Monica
4. St. Joseph
5. Blessed Mother ( Especially want to discuss her apparition at Tepeyac as Our Lady of Guadalupe)

Those in the Process of Being Canonized:

1. Pope John Paul II
2. Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta
3. Blessed Cyprian Michael Iwene Tansi
4. Blessed Jacinta and Blessed Francisco Marto ( I know that is really two people but they seem like a package deal)
5. Pope John XXIII (What were you really thinking about that council?)

Five U.S. Heroes:

1. Thomas Jeffer…

Crisis Number One

It is 2:35 Friday morning and I am waiting for a follow up phone call from Second Son. You may remember we just dropped him off at Rice University for his freshman year. This week has been freshman week with lots of orientation and social activities to make the freshmen feel at home. My son was part of a group that decided to take a nighttime visit to Galveston Beach. While frolicking in the waves he managed to impale his big toe on a crab claw. He is now sitting in the local emergency room waiting to have the claw extricated from his toe.

As a mother I want to be there so badly. As the doctor in the family I have always supervised any medical treatment. But as a doctor I know this really isn’t a big deal. The claw is barbed so it will be a simple matter of enlarging the wound enough to free the claw. Second Son will be walking with a limp for a few days but should be fine shortly and can enjoy the notoriety of being the freshman who ended up in the ER.

Of course, now that I know Seco…

The Priest was too humble and the Music too good

This was first published last March on my previous blog site. I have had to reference it a couple of times lately so I thought I would move it to my current site.

We were traveling again this past weekend so it meant another visit to a parish in the diocese next door. I’ve written about this diocese before. It is home to the “Yee-Haw Mass" and the “Mass as a PowerPoint presentation" parishes. At this point I am not surprised by anything I see. This weekend’s adventure, however, left me feeling a bit conflicted.

The Church was obviously being built in stages. The current structure looks like it will be the parish hall when a new sanctuary is built. For now, Mass is celebrated in this large open room circular room filled with folding chairs. The altar sits on a raised platform. There is a large wooden cross but no crucifix. Behind the altar is a stage that seats the musicians. The priest sits with the congregation in the first row of chairs facing the altar. He even offers the …

The Journey

Every now and then a familiar passage of Scripture just jumps out at me as if I had never heard it before. I felt like that at this morning’s Mass. Today’s Gospel (Mt 20:1-16) was the story of the vineyard owner who went out several times during the day to hire workers. When it came time to pay the workers, they each received a full day’s wages regardless of how many hours they worked. I can certainly identify with the workers who had worked the entire day. I am sure I would have been right there with them hollering, “That’s not fair!” But in truth, the vineyard owner was free to dispense as much charity as he wanted to. It is not up to the recipients to dictate the extent of the owner’s generosity.

Now that has always been the typical focus of this reading. However, today I heard something new. The vineyard owner did not stand at his gate and issue a mass call for workers. He went out into the town to seek workers. He didn’t just do this once. He did it time after time. The Gospel acc…

Mass and McDonalds

I don’t want to brag, but I do have to share how great our parish is for youth. I am very close to having four teens in the house. The youngest will enter his teens within the year and the oldest will leave his teen years tomorrow (I really feel much too young to have a 20-year-old). The vibrancy of our parish youth ministry positively influences all my children and makes my job as a parent so much easier. Many parishes have enthusiastic and talented youth ministers. Our parish is no exception. What differentiates our parish youth program from that of other parishes I have seen is the involvement of our priests.

This struck me this morning. Throughout the summer, the high school youth meet for “Mass and McDonalds”. Every Wednesday a group meets for the 9:00 AM daily Mass and then walks across the street to the McDonalds for breakfast and conversation. This morning one of the parochial vicars accompanied the group. When I returned in an hour to pick up my daughter it was very satisfyin…

College Musings

I suppose I should feel reassured since the Princeton Review just released a batch of college rankings and Rice University is ranked number one for “quality of student life”. Son #2 must be enjoying the quality of life there since he hasn’t phoned home since my husband dropped him off a couple of days ago—not that I really expect him to. (However, dear, if you are reading this blog feel free to log on to iChat or give us a call!) Of course, I also don’t put too much stock in these polls. A few years ago one of the teen magazines rated Rice as having the coolest guys. This was an internet poll. Let us remember that Rice is filled with brilliant computer and engineering geeks who probably found it quite easy to generate multiple votes for the Rice men. This is not a slam against Rice men. After all I did marry one, dated many during my years at Rice, and am sending one of my cherished children to become one. However, when one thinks of the popular definition of cool, I think it is far m…

The Line Between Living and Dying

Wesley Smith brings to our attention a policy in Great Britain to refuse life extending treatment to cancer patients because it is merely “extending the dying process”.

There is no reason to keep treating terminally ill patients with multiple therapies when the patient sees no benefit. However, if the patient sees that an additional six months of life is worth the discomfort and cost of the therapy, why should he be refused? Exactly where does one draw the line between the process of living and the process of dying. None of us is getting any younger so using the British health service logic, we are all in the process of dying.

This same argument was used to justify removing the feeding tube from Terri Schiavo. Though there was no continued deterioration of her physical functioning, she was declared to be in a dying state and therefore continuing to feed her was only “extending the dying process”. In truth, Terri Schiavo was living in a profoundly disabled state. She was not dying.

May …

Evangelizing our Own

It seems the rabidly anti-Catholic Protestants are getting under a few skins. Michelle Arnold writes about one Protestant’s diatribe that compares Catholicism to tribal African religions. Then Richmond Catholic discovers a Virginia based writer who makes claims of a Vatican based conspiracy to subvert the US government.

I have lived in all regions of the United States and there is this sort of bigotry everywhere. There does seem to be a stronghold of such thought in the American South. When I lived in Niceville, Florida there was a local Evangelical Protestant preacher who would take out a small advertisement in the local newspaper once per week in order to propagate lies about Catholicism. So, how do we respond?

In my opinion, the most effective apologetics response to this sort of blatant misinformation is to provide effective catechesis to current Catholics. The reason these bigoted mouthpieces can get away with their inaccurate proclamations of what Catholics believe is because we a…

Eat! Eat!

Wisdom has built her house,
she has set up her seven columns;
she has dressed her meat, mixed her wine,
yes, she has spread her table.
She has sent out her maidens; she calls
from the heights out over the city:
“Let whoever is simple turn in here;
To the one who lacks understanding, she says,
Come, eat of my food,
and drink of the wine I have mixed!
Forsake foolishness that you may live;
advance in the way of understanding.”
Proverbs 9: 1-6

This reading reminds me of my mother. She is now entertaining my older two sons since they are going to college near her home. They love it. My oldest has enjoyed her hospitality for the last two years. She is constantly saying, “Eat! Eat!”. Nothing sounds sweeter to the ears of a healthy teenage boy. She is a very good cook and loves to see my boys with hearty appetites inhale her culinary creations. Of course she is always fixing a variety of foods out of fear that someone won’t like one thing so she must have an alternative. Two kinds of meat. At least two d…

Divine Encounters

I guess Julie D. and I will trade links today. Read her post about her day of errands and “Divine Encounters”.

When I left there I was musing about my two stops with the Christian stories flying around. Believe it or not, I don't go around talking about this sort of thing ... at least not without someone leading me into it. Honestly! So this was somewhat unusual.

It has been four years since I actively practiced medicine. In the years when I was in clinical practice I always marveled at the ways I “bumped into God”. A patient would show up in my office with a very unusual constellation of symptoms but I had just read about such a case the night before and could appropriately care for her. I always said a prayer before seeing my patients and I can’t count the times that it seemed like a little voice prompted me to do something a little bit different and it turned out to be exactly the right thing for my patient. I found practicing medicine was very humbling because I had no doubt tha…

Sacramentals for the College Student

Second Son left for college today. He will soon be 1500 miles away from home and out of sight except for the occasional iChat video conferences. (I do love our iMacs!) Last night I sat with him as he packed the last of his things. I just kept reviewing the last eighteen years and wondering, “Have I told him everything he needs to know? Did I skip over some important piece of information?” With four kids it is easy to lose track of who knows what.

As I reviewed his final round of packing I made sure he had a good supply of sacramentals. He received a small desk-top crucifix for graduation. He has at least one Rosary. I kept pressing holy cards on him. St. Michael, St. Monica, St. Augustine, St. Benedict. He had already packed his Bible.

He is very patient with me as I fret about his spiritual well-being. I really am not worried. He seems to be pretty grounded in his faith. I was also interested in his take on all the Catholic paraphernalia I was sending with him. He told me appreciated…

Evangelical Christians and the "Contraception Culture"

Christine Gardner writes in today’s WSJ Opinion Journal that Evangelical Christians embrace the “contraception culture”.

With the recent approval by the FDA of the over-the-counter sale of Plan B, the "morning after" pill, there has been much discussion of where various groups of Americans come down on the issue of contraception. When we think about American attitudes toward a topic like this, we tend to assume that religious "red state" Americans line up on one side of a divide, with secular "blue state" Americans on the other. Perhaps, but only up to a point. American evangelicals, as it happens, are pro-contraception. A Harris Poll conducted online in September 2005 shows that evangelicals overwhelmingly support birth control (88%).

It makes one wonder how Catholics and Evangelical Christians can be so close on pro-life issues like abortion and euthanasia and so far apart on an issue like contraception. I think it stems from the lack of sacraments withi…

A Job for St. Anthony

Today’s Washington Post has an article about lost Advanced Placement (AP) test scores.

Sections from hundreds of Advanced Placement exams taken around the world in May have been lost, according to the company that scores the tests, and students must now decide whether to retake them.

Tom Ewing, spokesman for the Educational Testing Service, which develops and scores AP exams for the nonprofit College Board, said that it was unclear exactly how many AP tests were affected but that the number was "in the hundreds, not thousands."

Advanced Placement classes are college level classes taught in high school. Students from these classes take a standardized test and depending on their score can earn college credit. Even if they do not score high enough for college credit, taking the Advanced Placement class lets prospective colleges know a student is willing to challenge himself.

This article hits close to home because my sixteen-year-old daughter is one of those with missing scores. L…

Where are our Bishops? Right here!

A few days ago I wrote Where are our bishops? Well, here are a few answers.

Bishop Doran of Rockford, IL doesn't tread softly when he address the seven "secular sacraments:

The seven “sacraments” of their secular culture are abortion, buggery, contraception, divorce, euthanasia, feminism of the radical type, and genetic experimentation and mutilation.

Then Archbishop Chaput takes on Christian-Muslim relations.

Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput spoke out this week against the promulgation of lies regarding the history of Christian-Muslim relations. In his weekly Denver Catholic Register column, Chaput said that recent fallacious statements by a Denver-area Islamic leader, who reportedly claimed that Muslims have never tried to force conversions to their faith, do nothing to advance the causes of peace or interreligious understanding.

Bishop Roger J. Foys of Covington, KY is trying to bring some moral order to his diocese.

Covington Bishop Roger J. Foys took charge here at a time of…

Reconciliation and Redemption

You want to read about God’s grace and mercy? Read this account from Catholic News Service. Father Charles Smith recounts his experiences working with convicted Oklahoma City bomber, Timothy McVeigh.

But Father Smith persevered in his ministry to McVeigh and the convicted murderer, who was a baptized Catholic, began to repent. "He did a lot of things, but in the end we had confession, reconciliation. In the end he asked me a question a lot of people ask me. He asked, 'Father Charles, can I still get to heaven?'"

The priest said he responded, "I am not your judge," but reminded McVeigh that he had told him, "You must submit your will and ask God for true forgiveness. ... You knew there were a lot of innocent people and children in that building."

This reminds me of yesterday’s post. We should never pass up an opportunity to foster reconciliation and redemption. Forgiveness does not mean removal of consequences and punishment. It does mean we seek just…


Oldest Son left for college on Monday. He is now a junior. How did that happen? It seems like only yesterday that he was a nervous freshman, excited and terrified all at once. Now he is a confident young man with graduation a real possibility in less than two more years. He is looking at the real world now. For him, the real world means being an Army officer. He loves Texas A&M and he loves the Corps of Cadets. Maroon is now his favorite color. But he knows this is all just preparation for something bigger.

Second Son leaves for college tomorrow. He begins his freshman year at Rice. He has asked that I fix shrimp pesto pizza this evening. Missing Mom’s good cooking seems to be the number one concern. Since my parents are in Houston he isn’t even too worried about that since Grannie is more than happy to keep his belly filled. I am not sure if he is really confident or just oblivious to the challenges ahead. Of course, he is the one who at age two declared, “I have imagination, and…

Correcting our brother and ourselves

Here’s some follow up. A few days ago I wrote about David’s dilemma. His pastor seemed to be taking the parish farther and farther from orthodoxy. David was wrestling with leaving the parish or staying put and trying to work with the pastor. While the comment box gave no easy answers, there did seem to be a consensus that David speak with his pastor before leaving. Today David gives us some happy follow up. His pastor is far more amenable to addressing David’s concerns than anyone expected. What an important lesson. Never take away the opportunity to reconcile.

Today’s Gospel(Mt 18: 15-20) offers similar advice:

15 "If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.
16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses.
17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to liste…

Set Your Sights On Heaven

Last night our family attended the Vigil Mass for the Feast of the Assumption of Mary. Our scholarly parochial vicar was the celebrant. He is truly a brilliant man and a wonderful priest. As is his style, he reached into Church history to explain the relevance of our feast today.

Pope Pius XII declared infallibly in 1950 the dogma of the Assumption of Mary, body and soul, to Heaven. This was 96 years after Pope Pius IX declared infallibly the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of Mary. In the intervening century the world had seen great revolutions, both economic and political. Empires had risen and fallen. The Cold War was evolving as the Soviet Empire grew. Instability was the norm.

As with most Church declarations, the dogma of the Assumption of Mary was not invented in 1950. It had been part of the Church Tradition since the early centuries. (The Catholic Encyclopedia cites evidence that the feast itself has been celebrated since the fifth century) Pope Pius XII felt it was impor…

Where are our Bishops?

Thomas at American Papist brings to our attention a USA Today article claiming that Abp Antoninus is a “pro-choice” Catholic saint. Thomas has pledged to research the truth about St. Antoninus and has asked for help from his fellow bloggers and readers.

That topic in and of itself is interesting enough. Yet, what caught my attention even more was one of the comments to this post:

Once again, we have a very liberal Protestant pastor quoting a very liberal Catholic ex-priest in a major US publication telling Catholics worldwide that it is ok to be in favor of an abortion. Heck, the pro-choicers even have a patron saint, and where are the bishops?

Where there is silence there is consent?

Where are the bishops? That is an excellent question. Why should Thomas and all of the rest of us in the blogosphere have to muddle through this? When a nationwide publication publishes such an affront to Catholic teaching and uses a probably incorrect account of Church history to do it, our shepherds have a…

Boys Being Boys

Okay, maybe I am a little easier on Child #4. My oldest two boys were raised without the benefit of toy guns. I severely limited their TV and movie viewing to minimize their exposure to violence. I tried buying them kitchen play sets to prevent those sexist ideas that only women belong in the kitchen.

Then I encountered reality. The toy vacuum cleaner became an automatic weapon, though I really don’t know when they were ever exposed to the concept of an automatic weapon. My second child used the plastic chicken leg quarters as pistols. And after twenty-two years of marriage my husband’s idea of cooking is toasting the bread before he makes a peanut butter and jelly sandwich so, yes, my kids think women are the primary occupants of the kitchen.

Oldest son did some shopping while he was away at college and brought an Air Soft gun home for his youngest brother, much to my chagrin. He felt his youngest brother should have a few things that had been on the “mommy no list” a few years back. C…

Love them because they are human, not because they are perfect

Chuck Colson writes of a proposal by British medical researchers to eliminate autism:

In the absence of such a test for autism, researchers at University College Hospital London are settling for what they call a “close enough” solution. They have applied for permission to use pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, or PGD, to screen out male embryos in families with a history of autism.

Their “logic” is that since 90 percent of all autistic people are males, their testing would allow families with autistic children “to have a daughter free from the condition.” Of course, they would have also killed males who were not autistic. Talk about wholesale gender cleansing.

Once again we see the results of adults who view children as an acquisition akin to a new car. Their utilitarian view of life allows them to “kick the tires” of their embryos and only accept the ones that appear “perfect”. A few months ago I wrote about British doctors rejecting embryos with genes that predisposed one to various a…

A Reading List for Catholic Women

Jay Anderson notes that the recommended reading and resource list for the Diocese of Cleveland Office of Women in Church and Society leaves a little to be desired. Granted, the authors are listed in alphabetical order but having Bella Abzug as number one on the reading list gives one pause. She is joined by Lavinia Byrne with her book Woman at the Altar: Ordination of Women in the Roman Catholic Church. The Amazon synopsis of this book states:

Lavinia Byrne believes that the Roman Catholic Church's teaching and pastoral practice is producing vocations to priesthood among women. This book looks forward to the day when Catholic women will be ordained, and addresses questions such as: when and how this might take place; who women are for and against; how women are organized; what the present-day Church thinking is on the subject; whether nuns are uncovering a call to ordination; and whether the ordination of women is a source of division or a source of healing.

How do these titles so…

A Protest Gone to the Dogs

Page B3 of today’s Washington Post included a picture of protesters outside the Chinese embassy. (The picture and accompanying article are not on the Post web site so I can’t offer you a link) Were they there to protest the recent arrest of a Catholic bishop, a Catholic priest, and at least 90 Catholic worshipers? Were they there to protest the forced abortions and sterilizations of Chinese women? No. These demonstrators were from the Humane Society of the United States and were there to protest the killing of dogs in China after an outbreak of rabies in the country’s southwestern Yunnan province.

I realize that China does not carry out a gentle euthanasia program for these dogs. They are beaten to death with mop handles. I also realize that a rabies vaccination program could probably help control rabies as much as a mass dog slaughter does. But with all these atrocities being committed against humans in China, I have a hard time getting worked up over the cruelties inflicted on dogs. …

Maybe the label fits

Reuters reports that Muslims are upset because President Bush used the term “Islamic Fascists” in his response to the foiled terrorist plot to blow up airliners over the Atlantic. They don’t object to calling the terrorists fascists. They object to linking this label with Islam.

I can understand their discomfort. It would be an unnecessary linkage if the basis for the terrorist actions were something other than religion. However, the terrorists justify their actions with the tenets of Islam. It may very well be a faulty interpretation of Islam. But the terrorists claim their religion, Islam, compels them to take these dastardly measures. It is also true that the perpetrators of 9/11 were all Muslim. Richard Reid the shoe bomber was a Muslim. The London transit system bombers were all Muslim. The terrorists who attacked Bali were Muslim. In each of these cases, Islam or their concept of it was the motivating factor.

So if CAIR and other Muslim advocacy groups want to stop the linkage of …

When is it Time to Leave A Parish?

David at Apostolate of the Laity asks a good question. If you are at a parish with a pastor whom you believe is leading the flock astray do you stay as a stalwart of orthodoxy or do you abandon a sinking ship and pray for those left behind?

Our pastor is a baby boomer who has lost his faith. He has no reverence towards the Eucharist and has tried on several occasions to eliminate our adoration chapel. He removed offering the precious blood out of convenience from two of our Sunday masses and eliminated the cantor from one. He directs couples wanting to get married, but waiting for an annulment to just get married by a justice of the peace until the annulment comes through. His entire focus is on building a new church to replace our stately old one under the guise that we need more room.

I wrote recently about the positive changes brought about by our new pastor. What if the changes had gone the other way? What if he brought in more Haugen and Haas music instead of encouraging more trad…

It is Opt Out Time!

School has started or is about to start in most locations. There are stacks and stacks of papers coming home with information about internet use policies, lunch programs, supply lists, classroom procedures, permission slips, club memberships and the ubiquitous wrapping paper sales program. Hidden in this mountain of raw information may be a very important paper for your child’s moral development. This is the form to opt your child out of the school sex education program.

If your child is in public schools, please read this post and consider seriously the ramifications of having the public school teach your child about sex.

God Save Us From Such Liturgy Directors!

Father Jan Larson a liturgical consultant for the Archdiocese of Seattle. He takes the televised EWTN liturgy to task for being “stuffy”

I was recently watching a part of the daily televised liturgy on EWTN (Eternal Word Television Network). The liturgy there is an odd mix of English and Latin, while following the texts of the current Roman Missal. The priest and ministers of the liturgy look way too somber and serious. The ritual is performed with all the exaggerated exactness of the pre-Vatican II Latin liturgy. The Mass is overly formal and mechanical. Needless to say, there are no women allowed in the sanctuary area, there is no procession with the gifts, no Sign of Peace, and, of course, no Communion from the cup for the lay people who are present. The liturgy, in effect, is unlike anything that Catholics experience in the vast majority of Catholic parish churches.

Funny, this sounds very much like the liturgy I enjoy every Sunday in my home parish. We do have women lectors and we …

The Best Education

I published the following on my old blog site back in January of this year:

It is Catholic Schools Week and I am trying to keep a smile on my face. I am a product of Catholic Schools. My older children all attended Catholic schools at one time or another. We have spent the last twenty years moving all over the country, so the kids have changed schools often. Catholic schools have not always been available. When we moved to our current home, I thought it would be a great time to start my youngest in our parish school. Unfortunately, the school was “full” and there was no room for one more third grader. The school staff made it clear they had no need or desire to include my son in their elite school. Our short time as members of the parish did not qualify us for an advantageous spot on the waiting list, in spite of the fact we were already financially supporting the parish and volunteering at every opportunity. So this brings me to my current dilemma.

We are exhorted to financially sup…

Try These Books Instead....

Continuing with the theme of literary works:

Amy Welborn writes of the really poor choices offered on the summer reading list of one Catholic high school theology department.. Jonathan Livingston Seagull…Ugh!

Off the top of my head I can come up with a few suggestions:

Letters to a Young Catholic by George Weigel

The Sign of the Cross by Bert Ghezzi

A Simple Path by Mother Teresa (compiled by Lucinda Varday)

How The Catholic Church Built Western Civilization by Thomas E Woods, Jr., Ph.D.

The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis

Compendium Catechism of the Catholic Church

What would you suggest?

One Book Meme--Family Style

The One Book Meme has been making its way around the blogosphere. Rather than filling it out by my self I took it to the dinner table. Since all six of us were home and all six of us tend to be of the bibliophile ilk it was a very lively and enjoyable discussion. I will share a sampling of some answers:

One Book That Changed Your Life:

Mere Christianity by CS Lewis
The Autobiography of a Soul By St. Therese of Lisieux
The Bible
Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

One Book That You Read More Than Once:

Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkein
Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Keeping your Kids Catholic by Bert Ghezzi

One Book you Would Want on a Desert Island:

Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Boy Scout Handbook
Army Survival Handbook
The Bible

One Book that Made You Laugh:

Divine Secrets of the YaYa Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells
Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Eragon by Christopher Paolini
Anything written by Terry Pratchett

One Book that Made You Cry:


I am just so happy! The entire family is home. My ROTC Cadet is home safe and sound from the Army Airborne School. (Thanks to all who prayed so diligently for him.) Of course he arrived safely yesterday, but his luggage didn’t make the connection. We are hoping to see his bags arrive sometime this morning.

In honor of his return, I fixed his favorite food: Linguine. Actually the recipe carries the name Almond Linguini Florentine, but our family just knows it as Linguini. There are some funny stories associated with this recipe. I cut this recipe out of the Dallas Morning News about twenty-five years ago. My husband says when I made it for him for the first time while we were dating he knew he would have to marry me.

The boys in the family share their father’s love for this dish. Once the boys became strapping teens I had to double the recipe. That meant that there was usually a serving or two left for their after-school “snack”. When linguini was in the refrigerator the boys would ru…

Teach the Kids or Teach the Parents?

To teach or not to teach, that is the question. It is that time of year again. CCD will be starting up in another month and our parish needs teachers. I have been an on again-off again catechist for years. I feel compelled to teach in one form or another which is probably why I am blogging. However, do I really want to commit to a year of teaching seventh graders in preparation for confirmation? You see, my desire is to teach the parents of these seventh graders so that they can properly prepare their own children. My frustration with teaching CCD is that I feel like I am working independently of rather than in conjunction with parents. Parents must be the primary catechists. Unfortunately, as with most Catholic parishes, we don’t have an established culture of adult religious education. So here is my dilemma. Do I break new ground and work to initiate a parents’ religious education program or do I put my energy into the established program and hope I can teach the children well enou…

Drinking Tea with the Devil

I know that The Episcopal Church (formerly Episcopal Church USA) is having their troubles right now. After the election of ultra-liberal Katharine Jefferts Schori as presiding bishop, several conservative diocese asked the Archbishop of Canterbury for an alternative prelate as they could not see their way to follow Bishop Jefferts Schori. However looking to the Church of England may not be the appropriate direction. Reuters is reporting on the “marriage” of two gay British Anglican clergy, Jeffery John and Grant Hollings. Technically the two have not broken any norms of the Anglican Church because they insist their relationship is celibate.

David Virtue at VirtueOnLine has a very interesting essay about the state of the Episcopal Church and its current view of its mission:

So it is not without its significance that when incoming Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori was asked what the Episcopal Church stood for, she replied, "the United Nations Millennium Development Goals...", …