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Showing posts from October, 2006

Cardinal Arinze speaks in Paris

Francis Cardinal Arinze, Prefect for the Congregation of Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments (ie. Vatican authority on the Liturgy) spoke to the French Bishops last week. Blog by the Sea has the full address translated here.
Pay special attention to this paragraph:

2. To Show the Way of Light in the Liturgical Field

First of all, one of the duties of a Higher Institute of Liturgy is to be a beacon which shows a path of light in matters of the Liturgy. Assuming such a duty makes it possible, at the same time, to inform and also to form leaders, who are capable of appreciating the riches contained in the Church’s public worship, in the true value of those riches, and who, moreover, are ready to share them with others. That makes it possible to enlighten, and to make more explicit, the close link that exists between theology and liturgy, the faith of the Church and the celebration of the Mysteries of Christ, between lex credendi and lex orandi.

It is true that a Higher Institute …

And a good time was had by all

As regular readers know, our parish only has altar boys. We have a great corps of young men serving at The Table of Our Lord. Check out the altar boy link at this web site and see what about fifty of our altar boys(including my son) and about twenty of their dads(including my husband) enjoyed yesterday. Actually while you are at the web site, check out the new program Fiat! for the girls in our parish.

It Is Not Just a Tabernacle

I really enjoy reading Richmond Catholic. For the most part it is a good window on the tension between the “Spirit of Vatican II” folks and the “Reform of the Reform” folks. A recent post highlighted the new altar at St. Benedict Chapel in Chesapeake. One comment on this post cut me to the quick.

all those tabernacle idolators please take note. even the tridentine church is trying to get across that we go to mass to worship God; not the tabernacle, not the priest, not the church building itself, etc. etc.

we are to grow in our faith. we are not sheep led to the slaughter. websters dictionary defines "piety" as dutiful, habitual revence for God or the gods (?). grow up and experience resurrection...

“Tabernacle idolators”? Ouch! I admit that I am one of those who want to see the Tabernacle in a prominent place in the sanctuary. I want to show reverence to the True Physical Presence of Our Lord. The Tabernacle alone is not reverenced. It is what is inside that merits my adoratio…

Headed for the Beach

Virginia Beach, that is. And I won't see the shoreline. It is the Virginia State Cup soccer tournament and daughter's team is in the final four. Of course it is pouring down rain so it will be a very soggy game if it goes at all. But there will be plenty of time for mother-daughter bonding and I am sure some interesting memories will be made. More news when we return!

Exactly what are the Dutch smoking?

Is there anything the Dutch won’t try?

London, Oct 25 (ANI): A leading Dutch woman politician has called for the country's prostitutes to be sent abroad with the troops to help them better relax.

Annemarie Jorritsma, a politician for the centre-right People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) and the mayor of the town of Almere, went on national Dutch TV to demand the 'extra benefits' for soldiers.

She said: "The army must think about how their soldiers can let off some steam".

I am sure the Muslim countries in which the Dutch soldiers serve would be thrilled with this.

A Nightmare

Another reason I plan to be in church on Halloween. It seems the pro-abortion folks have decided that the possibility that abortion on demand might be curtailed is so frightening, they have used this theme to construct a Halloween “haunted house”. Imagine if our government recognized unborn children as complete human persons, intrinsically imbued with human dignity from the moment of their conception. The thought is enough to send a pro-abortion feminist to the fainting couch. Planned Parenthood sees its cash cow threatened so it is presenting this program in conjunction with other pro-abortion groups.

According the Philadelphia Citypaper the idea is modeled after “Hell Houses” used by Evangelical Christian churches to teach the consequences of sin.

"Nightmare," however, aims to present reproductive-rights horrors in a "campy, palatable and fun way," Schewel said. One vignette shows two teenage girls locked in prison; one for taking her younger sister across a state…

Keeping Your Kids Catholic: Chapter Six

Chapter five is here.

Chapter 6 of Keeping Your Kids Catholic by Bert Ghezzi is subtitled Keeping Teenagers Close to Christ. This is a subject near and dear to my heart since my children span the ages of twelve to twenty. However, what is interesting about this chapter is the essays address general communication with teens as much as religion and teens. The discussion questions focus on the overall relationship between parent and teen. Only the final questions asks “How can we bring teenage children closer to Christ?”

This is actually a very important point. Remember, back in chapter two we learned one of the primary reasons young people leave the Church is family tension unrelated to religion. Therefore, nurturing a healthy parent-child relationship makes your teen more receptive to the Faith.

Communication begins with listening. And I mean really attentive listening. Unplug the headphones, turn off the television, get away from the computer screen, and close your book or magazine. Loo…

So Many Books, So Little Time....

Karen Hall links us to this Quiz about Catholicism. It is from 1993 and the author, Karl Keating states that he gave this quiz to a group of Catholic business leaders. Few got more than half the questions correct. However, the score reports in Karen’s comment box look pretty good. Maybe we really have made progress in Catholic catechesis.

In case you find you need a little refresher course after taking the above quiz, Jennifer at et tu, Jen? has performed an invaluable service. She has compiled a very thorough reading list for Catholics. She has even included it in a PDF so it is easy to file for future reference. She covers everything from the basic doctrine to improving your prayer life. Thank you, Jen!!!

Rich Leonardi points us to two books by Diane Moczar, Don’t Know Much About Catholic History and Ten Dates Every Catholic Should Know. This sounds exactly like what I am looking for to develop a Church history course for adult education in our parish.

Like her "Ten Dates Every…

You Know you are a Catholic Soccer Family....

The following is circulating around our soccer community email lists. I wouldn’t say our family meets all these criteria, but a whole lot of them sure hit home:

You know you are a soccer family when....... have owned every style of camping chair ever made. have never met a linesman that knows how to call off-sides properly. have never met a competent Center Ref in your life.

...your kid takes a bloody wallop on the nose, and your first thought is that he/she needs to quit crying or be subbed because we're running out of time in the game. know where every elementary school, jr. high, high school, college, and park with a soccer field is in the metro and you know where the
closest Starbucks, bagel shop and Subway is to each of those fields. know how to get to all of the above without getting lost.

...your gas credit card bills are bigger than your 2nd mortgage

...all of your vacation time is taken up by soccer events. No more beach vacations, unless your te…

What Did You Learn In School Today?

Just what does a high school education that costs $21,950 yearly in tuition alone teach students? Well, Solebury School in Philadelphia includes a field trip to a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic in its curriculum. This article at Catholic Exchange gives the details

More than a dozen high school students from Solebury School, near Philadelphia, were taken by bus to the Planned Parenthood location in Warminster, Catholic News Service reported, where they spent several hours touring the clinic. According to CNS the students wore vests used by abortion staff when escorting women into the building.

Jason Gordon, social science teacher for the school and the trip organizer, said the outing was part of an “activism class.”.

It is interesting that only activism by the pro-abortion side was studied. Students were not allowed to speak to the pro-life activists praying outside the clinic.

Gordon said the students weren’t permitted to speak with the pro-life demonstrators because he did not want t…

Matchmaker, Matchmaker....

Seamus offered a comment below that brought a smile to my face.

…the obvious question is begged -- to wit, where oh where can an orthodox, single, Catholic, young man find orthodox, single, Catholic women? (And please don't suggest those Catholic dating web sites. Been there and done that. The last thing I want is to go on yet another first date and have a woman say "huh?" when I, inadvertently or otherwise, mention the word Magisterium.)

My goodness. I know there are mothers reading this right now who are hyperventilating trying to figure out how to introduce you to their daughters. I know I am praying daily for the future spouses of my children. As I mentioned a few days ago, I was elated to find that my son found a young woman who would make time during a brief trip to New Orleans to attend Sunday Mass in the French Quarter. I don’t know anything else about this young woman but she has made the “mom-approved list” with that simple act.

So if I were going to offer advice…

Keeping Your Kids Catholic: Chapter Five

Chapter four is here.

Francis Cardinal Arinze, Prefect for the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments repeatedly refers to Divine Providence. People come into our lives and events happen for a reason. Yesterday I listened to the Cardinal’s podcast on the five pillars that support a Catholic family. The very first pillar is to understand as a family why God made us. He made us to know Him, to love Him, to adore Him, to serve Him, and to eventually reside with Him in Heaven. Therefore, our family must be oriented to live with a view towards eternal life. The other four pillars are family prayer, family attendance at Mass, teaching of genuine love and being open to new life, and a focus on genuine Catholic education. This education is important whether it occurs at home, in a Catholic school, or in a parish CCD program. For those who do not have an iPod but still want to listen to Cardinal Arinze’s podcasts, see if your computer is iTunes capable. It is free to d…

Raising Saints

This morning we celebrated the Mass for St. Hedwig. She was a very pious and generous woman, the daughter of the Duke of Croatia, and a devoted wife and mother. There are a couple of things that struck me about St. Hedwig. First of all, she would take on physical penances for the sake of the sick and the poor. In his sermon, Father mentioned that we should consider similar practices in our own spiritual lives. For example, getting out of bed 30 minutes earlier and offering the discomfort this causes as an act of redemptive suffering is a form of physical penance. Fasting or abstinence from meat is another. These acts of self-denial help us to become more detached from our earthly lives and more focused on our journey towards Heaven.

The second fact I learned from Argent’s post on St. Hedwig. St. Hedwig was the maternal aunt of St. Elizabeth of Hungary. The reason this detail resonated with me is that I have been spending a lot of time reading and writing on the importance of the family…

I am so glad that wasn't my daughter!

The Washington Post is certainly covering a lot of sex ed programs lately. A few days ago they highlighted a human sexuality course at the University of Maryland. Yesterday they wrote about an abstinence program in Loudoun County. The WaPo article focused on the speaker's Evangelical Christian background. The ACLU was keeping a close eye on the program to make sure there was no mention of religion as the presenter advocated sexual abstinence.

What caught my eye were the interviews with students. The Post quoted the reactions of different students.

Students gave Deltano mixed reviews. Many cheered and laughed at his jokes; some blushed. Afterward, sophomore Megan Patlen, 15, said that she loved it.

"Abstinence is definitely the way to go," she said, describing herself as Christian.

Junior *********, 16, said she didn't like how abstinence was "pressed" on her in her sex-education lessons and in the assembly.

"Although it's not about Christianity, there …

Eulogy for T.C.

I knew it was coming, I just didn’t expect it to be today. This morning our twelve-year-old Maine Coon cat, TC, was barely conscious and couldn’t stand. The kids had already left for school when I found him. I bundled him into his carrier and hustled him to the veterinary emergency room. Unfortunately, there really wasn’t anything to do. I stroked his fur and gave my permission for him to be euthanized.

TC found us ten years ago when we lived in Ohio. He was a very friendly stray who arrived on our front door looking like he had been on his own for a while. He had a bald patch on his back and his ribs were easily felt. My oldest promptly became his best friend when he opened a can of tuna. We searched in vain for an owner to claim him. Let me say Catholic Dad was not excited about having a pet cat. He was adamant that we not name this cat thinking the lack of a name would prevent us from getting attached. Thus the cat became The Cat or T.C. for short. He also became ours. He soon gre…

What is whole parish catechesis?

Every now and then a bunch of issues start swirling around in my head and I discover they are all part of the same story. Much like blind men examining the elephant, I find the discussions are about the same issue from different perspectives. This is how I feel after completing another chapter of Keeping Your Kids Catholic, reading the controversy over religious education programs at Richmond Catholic, and reading Amy Welborn’s very long post on youth ministry.
How does one keep children Catholic? How does a parish teach the Catholic faith to children? What should a youth ministry provide? The answer to all of these questions hinges on Catholic children living in Catholic families. If we try to separate the Faith from families and present it to children and teens in isolation, we will fail. Pope John Paul II once again showed his wisdom when he emphasized the central importance of the family and called it the “domestic church”.

I really like the idea of whole parish catechesis. Young a…

Keeping Your Kids Catholic: Chapter Four

Chapter three discussion is here.

Chapter four of Keeping Your Kids Catholic by Bert Ghezzi is subtitled Making Your Home Catholic.

How do you create a Catholic home?

Essays by Mitch and Kathy Finley, Dolores Curran, and Mary Ann Kuharski offer tips on bringing Faith in the front door. For too many Catholics, faith is something outside the home. It is that thing done on Sundays or in CCD class and bears little impact on the rest of their lives. Catholic children need a Catholic home.

So what does a Catholic home look like? Well, I am sure anyone entering my home would be fairly certain a Catholic lives here. The front walk is lined with statues of St. Francis, St. Fiacre, and St. Joseph. (Blessed Mother is in the garden behind the house) Nearly every room has a crucifix. The Sacred Heart of Jesus and The Immaculate Heart of Mary pictures are in the dining room. The window sill above the sink is a communion of saints with Our Lady of Guadalupe, St. Therese of Lisieux, Mother Teresa, Pop…

A Catholic Son in the French Quarter

It is tough sending kids 1500 miles away to college. My husband and I did our best to instill strong Catholic values, but now they will be tested and challenged like never before. My college freshman went to New Orleans this past weekend for the Rice vs. Tulane football game. He is part of the MOB (Marching Owl Band). They were going to be staying near the French Quarter.

Now I remember trips to New Orleans during my own college years. The thought of my child doing the same is pretty frightening. He got back to Rice on Sunday night and I didn’t hear from my son until Monday night. Oh, the thoughts that were going through my head.

Well, it sounds like he stayed out of trouble. In fact, he made a point of going to Mass on Sunday morning at St. Louis Cathedral in Jackson Square. He found another member of the MOB to go with him. Let me clarify, he found a girl in the MOB to go with him. He knew her as a regular mass attendee at the Catholic Student Center. Why is it that my boys going to …

Still Missing the Human Element

”U-MD Professor Puts the Human Element into Sex Education” or so reads the headline of this morning’s Washington Post article. Robin Sawyer is a professor of public health at the University of Maryland. He has been teaching a human sexuality class for the last 22 years. His classes often number 200 students and he usually has a waiting list of another 100 students. So what is this man teaching?

The class topic last Tuesday was contraception. Sawyer arrived at the College Park auditorium in khakis and a navy polo shirt and carrying a bag of birth control pills, patches and other props. He scribbled types of contraception on the giant blackboard in order of effectiveness -- Norplant, Depo Provera, oral conception and condoms among them -- knowing that three-fourths of the students there were probably sexually active, half of them since they were 17, and probably fewer than half were using condoms to prevent pregnancy or reduce the possibility of disease.

…A young man asks Sawyer about tim…

A Limited Time Offer

I have mentioned before how important it is to read Catholic periodicals that are faithful to the Magesterium. I highly recommend the National Catholic Register. For a limited time you can read the Register online. I really like that the print edition is now divided into two sections. The first section deals with more sensitive topics, some of which may not be as appropriate for younger children. The second section is all family-friendly articles. Take a look and see if this would be a good newspaper to have in your household.

Naming God

It seems Anglicans on both sides of the Atlantic are infected with the desire to ban the use of male pronouns in reference to God. First we had the newly elected presiding bishop of The Episcopal Church (formerly known as Episcopal Church USA), Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori referring to “Mother Jesus”. Now leaders of the Church of England have declared that the use of male pronouns for God encourages wife-beating.

Church of England leaders warned yesterday that calling God 'He' encourages men to beat their wives.

They told churchgoers they must think twice before they refer to God as 'He' or 'Lord' because of the dangers that it will lead to domestic abuse.

In new guidelines for bishops and priests on such abuse, they blamed "uncritical use of masculine imagery" for encouraging men to behave violently towards women.

They also warned that clergy must reconsider the language they use in sermons and check the hymns they sing to remove signs of male oppres…

The Hard Decision

Dawn Eden has a must-read post by guestblogger Tragic Christian. He responds to a woman describing her decision to abort her child with Downs Syndrome as “the hardest decision I’ve ever made…”

I'm a man, so I'm not supposed to have an opinion about abortion. Instead, let me tell you about the wonderful morning I had yesterday, taking my 2-year-old daughter Dot to speech therapy and physical therapy. Her major interest right now is reciting the colors (which she does in English and American Sign Language, yet) and reciting the names of her boyfriends in her early start toddler class ("Edgerrrrr! Androooo!") and informing me they wear "backpacks." She waved at everyone she saw that day with a cheery "Hello!" and smiled a gap-tooth smile under her mop of red hair. They smiled and waved back. What a cutie!

Oh, sorry — she has Down Syndrome. Reboot. Let me try again:

Bringing her to term was obviously a big mistake! What a tragedy SHE is! How inconvenien…

Sweating with...(not Richard Simmons)

If I manage to shed a few pounds in the next few weeks I give credit to Francis Cardinal Arinze, prefect for the Congreation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. I’ve been listening to his podcasts while I work out on the elliptical trainer and it has made it very easy to keep up with my exercise program. I become so engrossed in the Cardinal’s remarks that I forget I am exercising and sweating off the calories.

Over on the left side bar you will find a logo and link for the Cardinal Arinze podcast. I cannot say enough good things about these podcasts. They are produced by the Apostolate for Family Consecration. The bits of commentary by the moderators are fairly ordinary, but Cardinal Arinze is a genius. He doesn’t dance around issues. He goes straight to the heart of Catholic teaching and presents it in such an eloquent but clearly understood fashion. I encourage all my readers who use iTunes to take advantage of these free downloads.

I also recently finished the b…

More Thoughts on Confirmation

Amy Welborn points out a new book by Bishop Olmstead of Phoenix. However, in light of my recent post on confirmation preparation, I was more interested to learn that Bishop Olmstead has changed the age for confirmation from high school age to third grade. It is now received in conjunction with First Holy Communion. His pastoral letter on the topic is very good so I urge you to read the whole thing. The following passage from the letter echoes my thoughts as well:

Four major concerns have prompted us to re-think the high school years as the most appropriate age for this Sacrament:

--The number of adolescents accepting our invitation to participate in preparation for Confirmation is less than 40% of those who are eligible for the Sacrament.

--This Sacrament is often mistakenly seen as bringing to completion the need for continuing education and ongoing growth in faith—more like a graduation than an initiation.

--The grace of Confirmation to help adolescents in facing the many moral and …

Keeping Your Kids Catholic: Chapter three

Read chapter two here.

This is probably one of the most important chapters in the book. It is entitled Keeping Parents Catholic. This is why I harp on adult religious education so much. A parent must be a faithful Catholic to raise his child as a faithful Catholic.

Discussion Questions:

Why is a parent’s own faith and behavior important in raising Catholic Children?

Parents are the primary models for their children. Children of smokers have a much higher risk of smoking themselves. They have received the same anti-smoking messages in school as their peers, but the behavior of their parents negates these formal lessons in the dangers of tobacco. The same applies to faith. Children can go to CCD or Catholic schools, but if their parents to not reinforce the school lessons in faith, they are much less likely to be incorporated into a child’s life.

Bill Dodds writes, ”My parents didn’t teach me about being Catholic during one hour on Sunday. It was during the other 167 hours of the week.” Chil…


Our parish has an altar server corps of around 100 boys. In addition to serving at the table of Our Lord, the boys are invited to activities to nurture them spiritually as well as socially. When The Chronicles of Narnia was released, the boys were invited to meet for pizza and hear a talk about the salvation allegory of the story. They then all went to see Chronicles of Narnia as a group. They have gone hiking, biking and paintballing. Our priests join in the adventures. This has been bearing much fruit. The high school youth group has a strong cadre of active young men. In fact, the next high school retreat filled the available slots immediately and there are more boys than girls attending. The boys truly see that they belong in the Church.

There is a need to reach out to young women in the same way. Last Sunday our parochial vicar announced the beginning of Fiat. This will be a program for girls from grades five through twelve. They will be called to pray before the Blessed Sacrame…

Thoughts on Confirmation Preparation

Jimmy Akin has a thought provoking post about Confirmation preparation. This post hits close to home because this year I am teaching 7th grade CCD, which is our confirmation preparation year. My youngest son is also in the class so I am involved in his preparation as well.

I really love our textbooks. We are using the Faith and Life Series by Ignatius Press. The seventh grade book is The Life of Grace. The book has enough information to be used in a daily religious education class so it is a bit of a challenge to winnow the lesson down to our one-hour class every week.

What I don’t enjoy is the specter of the final exam that hangs over the curriculum. There is a five-page final exam that is given in the springtime. It contains questions on the very basic facts of our Faith. For example:

--List the Ten Commandments

--What happened at Pentecost?

--What are the seven Sacraments?

The expectation is that one must receive a passing grade in order to be confirmed the following fall. The children a…

Feast of the Guardian Angels

A blessed Feast of the Guardian Angels to all.

Angel of God,
my Guardian dear,
To whom God's love
commits me here,
Ever this day,
be at my side,
To light and guard,
Rule and guide.