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Showing posts from January, 2007

My Introduction to Flannery O'Connor

For my recent birthday, my husband gave me the The Complete Works of Flannery O’Connor. She is one of those authors I have heard about for years but never got around to actually reading. I have read about half of the collection. I really am enjoying the stories in an odd sort of way. Flannery O’Connor can transport me into a scene so completely that I feel, see, hear, and smell the action.

New York was swishing and jamming one minute and dirty and dead the next. His daughter didn’t even live in a house. She lived in a building—the middle in a row of buildings all alike, all blackened-red and gray with rasp-mouthed people hanging out their windows looking at other windows and other people just like them looking back. Inside you could go up and you could go down and there were just halls that reminded you of tape measures strung out with a door every inch. (The Geranium by Flannery O’Connor)

Yet, so much of the time it is action I would rather avoid. The stories are dark. They don’t hide…

What makes an effective diocese?

I just brought in the mail today and was happy to receive this week’s National Catholic Register. Before I comment on the main topic I would like to give this editorial endorsement to the National Catholic Register. I think every Catholic household in America should read the Register. Remember how I mentioned in the previous post that Confirmation is a beginning, not a graduation. Learning about your faith is a life-long process. With the state of adult education in most parishes this is a real challenge. The National Catholic Register meets this challenge. If enough parishioners read it, there might even be a push for more adult education within the parish.

On to this week’s edition. An editorial that is accessible online to all, not just subscribers, looks at the Six Habits of Highly Effective Dioceses. Specifically, it analyzes the characteristics of the diocese having the most success with vocations. These dioceses could answer yes to the following questions:

1. Is the Eucharist …

Top Ten Memorized Prayers

I haven’t written too much about 7th grade CCD lately, but it is going well. The Confirmation preparation is proceeding along. (Other posts about confirmation preparation are here and here) It seems like we have hit a portion of the curriculum that is a series of lists: the seven sacraments, the seven cardinal sins, the seven virtues to oppose the seven sins, the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, the twelve fruits of the Holy Spirit, etc. I am really trying to convince these twelve and thirteen-year-old students that these facts, committed to memory, are just the building blocks of faith. Just as you cannot read and enjoy a complex novel until you memorize the phonics that allow you to read, you must memorize some basic tenets of our faith so you can appreciate its depth and richness. I am sure nearly every class I have said, “Confirmation is a sacrament of initiation. It is not a graduation. You are only beginning to learn about your faith. This is a lifelong process!”

In addition to th…

Thy Will be Done

In the spirit of talking about college visits, I want to pass on this post from Amy Welborn. She calls attention to a pastoral letter from Bishop Yanta of Amarillo.

Two big mistakes by parents and children

The first mistake by the parents to children: “What are you going to be when you grow up?” Parents should remember and teach that the first calling of the Christian and Catholic is to follow Christ.

God has a general plan for everyone in the whole human race: salvation by righteous living, discipleship – for Christian to follow the master Jesus, and holiness like that of the saint’s name chosen at baptism by our parents, or the saint’s name you chose at Confirmation as a young Catholic. That is God’s general plan for us. God also has a specific plan for everyone to attain salvation, discipleship, and holiness.

So the question becomes: “What do you think God wants you to be in your life?” God has a special love for every human person and a special plan for each of us (Ephesians 1:9).

I ke…

Wish You Were Here!

I was tagged by Barb for the Wish You were Here Meme:

Who are the five Catholic (or Christian) bloggers whom you would most like to meet in person, but have not (yet)?

Like everyone else I am saying, “Just five?”

Barb, I’d like to meet you too! Looks like soccer will be taking me to Ft. Dix on Saturday May 12 as well as the weekend of June 16-17 so maybe we can work something out.

Other bloggers I would like to meet are:

Rosemary of A Catholic Mother’s Thoughts

Rich Leonardi of Ten Reasons

Sister Mary Martha

Kelly of the Lady in the Pew

Thomas of American Papist

There are many others as well! I do wish you all were here to join me in a cup of coffee or tea. Wouldn’t that be fun?

This University gets the Catholic Mom Stamp of Approval

I have not been shy about expressing my frustration with universities who claim to be Catholic but do everything they can to obfuscate their Catholic identities. I am sure we will see another round of this as we approach Valentine’s Day with its annual V-Day kerfuffle. Yesterday, however, I had a very different experience at a Catholic university-- specifically at The Catholic University of America.

My daughter is seriously considering attending CUA in the fall of 2008. Yesterday we attended a university open house to get a good look at the school. The day’s activities began with Mass at the adjoining Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. For me, this is a no-mascara church. The sheer beauty and poignancy of the artwork brings me to tears. I get a bit misty-eyed just thinking about the chapel for Our Lady of Guadalupe. Mass was celebrated by the CUA president, Fr. David O’Connell.

We then proceeded to the Pryzbyla center at CUA for the opening address. The admiss…

Musings on the Domestic Arts

Michelle has a cute post about wearing aprons and building bridges. This got me to thinking about the domestic arts that are disappearing from our homes. It is interesting to see the surprised looks on my children’s friends when I pull out a needle and thread. Many homes don’t even have the most rudimentary sewing supplies and probably most don’t have a sewing machine. I don’t consider myself an expert seamstress. But I do own a sewing machine and I can make a Halloween costume, sew on a button, hem pants, and sew on merit badges.

I am much more adept in the kitchen. I know how to make a cake, brownies, and pancakes without using a mix. When a recipe calls for Parmesan cheese I shred it off a hunk of cheese rather than shake it out of a green box. I know that when measuring viscous liquids like honey or corn syrup it helps to spray the measuring cup or spoon with non-stick cooking spray first. The syrup glides right out with no scraping. Of course with an undergraduate degree in bioche…

If not at conception, then when?

The comments are flying at Dawn Eden’s blog post about the Yale pro-choice medical students inviting the general public in for a how-to lesson on performing abortions. One commenter, in particular, is interesting. She is a female medical student, married, who writes the following:

Women have abortions because they don't feel they are up to carrying and parenting - how sad (but mature) to recognize that! I am sad but sure in the knowledge that I cannot be a very good dog owner right now as my yard is insufficient. I am also practicing exceedingly careful birth control with my husband!!! However if despite my extremely careful plans enacted with the help of my husband we were to conceive, this would still be an inappropriate time for a child and so I would sadly, very sadly and with disappointment both in that I am not up to the task of parenting right now and that I was incapable of preventing conception, I would abort! It's not happy, it's not good, it's not completely…

Driving to Distraction

As I mentioned a couple of days ago, Child #3 has just started driving solo. This certainly has me my prayer meter pegged. I often light a prayer candle when she is on the road.

This item from Yahoo News supports the Virginia policy of a graduated drivers license. You can get your permit at age 15 ½. You can get your license once you have had your permit nine months and completed the required behind the wheel training. For the first year of driving you cannot have more than one non-family passenger under the age of 18 in the car with you. For the first year of driving you cannot be driving after midnight. I might even be tempted to make the rules more stringent after reading these statistics.

But teens reported a host of other in-car distractions that researchers say help make traffic accidents the No. 1 killer of U.S. teens, with a fatality rate four times higher than drivers aged 25-69, based on miles driven. About 5,600 teens died in traffic accidents in 2005, and about 7,500 were d…

Such a Simple Procedure at Yale

This is one group at a secular university. If Yale wants to host such affairs it is within their constitutional rights to do so. Yet I feel physically ill as I read the accounts of the activities planned at Yale to celebrate and endorse Roe v. Wade.

On Thursday, the Yale Medical Students for Choice will host workshop on manual vacuum aspiration for medical students, using a papaya as a uterine model. Manual vacuum aspiration is a surgical abortion method that uses a syringe to remove the fetus from a woman’s uterus. Merritt Evans MED ’09 said she thought it was important to have the workshop because the procedure can be used for a variety of different purposes — including miscarriage management and the treatment of a failed medical abortion or ectopic pregnancy — and is inconsistently taught in medical school.

While the workshop is targeted towards medical students, undergraduates are also invited to attend.

“The reason I wanted to include other people is that it is such a simple procedu…

My Kitchen Sink Shrine

I am following Sarah’s lead and posting a picture of the view from my kitchen sink. From left to right my statues are: St. Benedict, St. Therese, Our Lady of the Smile, Mother Teresa, Pope John Paul II, Madonna and Child, Sacred Heart of Jesus, Immaculate Heart of Mary, and Our Lady of Guadalupe. The Madonna and Child used to belong to my grandmother and graced her kitchen sink window as well. This post by Suzanne inspired the idea.

If the kitchen is the heart of the home, then the kitchen sink is a main artery. We mothers spend so much time in front of the kitchen sink that it only seems natural to place an image of the Blessed Mother there. She stands before us as a blessing upon the home, a companion in our day's work and a model and inspiration to virtue.

Like Suzanne I have found the window of over my kitchen sink is a prayerful place. I do spend quite a bit of time there. I have collected an assortment of statues to remind me of holy lives that have gone before me. They also r…

Finding Devotions that Fit

I spend a whole lot of time thinking about prayer. I spend a fair amount of time writing about prayer. I probably spend a goodly bit of time talking about prayer. But how much time do I really spend in prayer?

I offer a whole lot of quick prayers throughout the day. If I have a particularly onerous chore to get done, I like to say a quick prayer before I begin and offer my task as a prayer as well. I also manage to get to daily Mass more days than not. But I am not very good at breaking out a specific block of time for private prayer. This is probably because I am constantly trying to squeeze 65 minutes of activity into a 60-minute time span so I always feel like I am running behind.

I was thinking about this yesterday, and I thought, “Why don’t I try to get to Mass 15 minutes early and use those few minutes for quiet, personal prayer time?” In spite of my good intentions, I only managed to arrive about ten minutes early. That was a start, but I felt chagrined that I couldn’t even manag…

Catholic Kids and the Communion of Saints

image source
My husband was not raised as a Catholic. He did not swim the Tiber until several years into our marriage, though he has always attended Mass and fully participated in our Catholic family life. Still, he continues to be amazed at things our children do and say. I just tell him, “That’s what Catholic kids do!” These moments of surprise often involve the Communion of Saints.

Most recently, my daughter who has only been driving herself solo for about a week, found herself driving the back roads of Northern Virginia in a snow storm. She had soccer practice at one of the fields located in the hinterlands. It is about a twenty-minute drive from home along winding, hilly, two-lane roads. We knew snow was in the forecast but it wasn’t snowing when she left and wasn’t predicted to start snowing until after practice was over. Wrong! The snow began soon after she left home. Committed soccer players that they are, however, the team kept practicing as scheduled. When it was time to le…

Help Our Priests...Don't Supplant Our Priests

A comment on my post about pastoral life coordinators prompts me to address the issue again.

Esperu said...

15 years ago I was a member of a parish in New Jersey where the "Assistant Pastor" was a lay woman. (She wouldn't have that title now, I'm sure.) She was very well qualified, with an M.Div. and an S.T.L., and provided a lot of continuity to the parish. The parish had experienced rapid turnover of pastors (always a priest) but she had remained the assistant pastor for well-nigh a decade.

She never, ever, performed any liturgical function.

She spent her time visiting the sick (also as an extraordinary minister of communion -- but not during Mass), counseling the troubled, doing marriage prep, planning liturgies, and assisting with the youth group. I'm sure she had various office administrative duties as well, but I didn't have cause to see those.

It seemed pretty much licit and fruitful to me. I'm glad I experienced

This sounds like a very positive use of …

Echoing my Thoughts

After I posted the item below, I read the editorial page of the Washington Times. This essay by Senator Sam Brownback echoes my sentiments.

Life is beautiful. One's value is not contingent upon external features, such as one's bank account, one's successes or one's lineage. A human being's value is intrinsic, not earned. Without this basic moral understanding, few of our laws would make much sense. Laws against murder, for instance, would fail to make sense if we did not deem human life to be intrinsically valuable and worthy of protection.

Rather than choose an arbitrary starting point for valuing human life, we should go to the point when life begins. For this, science gives us clear understanding of when a new human life begins. Science tells us that life begins at the moment of conception, when the combination of 23 chromosomes from each pronucleus results in the 46 chromosomes present in the zygote embryo. From the moment of conception onward, a new human being …

A Day of Prayer, Penance, and Renewed Conviction

Today we once again mark the American travesty of Roe v. Wade. On this date, we as a nation declared that some human life is unworthy and disposable. When one class of citizens, in this case the unborn, is left so unprotected, we all become vulnerable. We have slipped down the slope and extended this sub-human status to the terminally ill, the disabled, and the elderly.

It was very easy to propose this for the unborn. They were so invisible. Call them blobs of tissue and no one would think twice. Advancement in ultrasound technology has shot down that argument so the pro-abortion argument has needed new tactics.

“Every child a wanted child”—Wasn’t that their mantra? By allowing women to abort these problem pregnancies we would get rid of child abuse. Wrong again. Women who have had an abortion are 144% more likely to abuse the children they do give birth to.

“It is my body. No one has a right to tell me what I can do with my body.” That is the reasoning of Kim in this post. So, Kim, when…

Consider this a warning

As a follow on to the post below, the US Center for Disease Control released a study indicating the economic impact of birth defects. It estimated the financial burden of birth defects to be $2.5 billion in hospital costs alone. As the state and federal governments assume more control over our health care, there will be greater incentive for them to advocate for increased prenatal screening for birth defects and increase use of abortion to eliminate these defects. All the more reason to make sure we vote for policy makers who respect the dignity of every human life from conception to natural death.

Begin the Health Care Debate with the Right Questions

The Washington Times carries an editorial today about health care reform in America. It warns of the coming tide of government-controlled health care.
If SchwarzeneggerCare is any indication, the direction is likely to be measurably to the left of previous years. Mr. Schwarzenegger's plan for universal coverage includes "pay or play," a 4 percent payroll tax and a four percent tax on doctors and hospitals to cover the uninsured. More than half the state's population will be eligible for state subsidies. The plan also sets rigid limits on profits and administrative costs, patient-care spending requirements and expands the state's Healthy Families program to children whose families earn less than three times the poverty level, including the children of illegal aliens. In other words, Democrats can learn to love a "Republican" health-care plan if it looks like Mr. Schwarzenegger's. This is a decent imitation of HillaryCare.
No one is saying much about…

I didn't know Christ's Resurrection was up for debate

Today’s Washington Post Metro section features a front page article about St. Stephen's Episcopal Church and its recent decision to leave The Episcopal Church and align itself with the Anglican Church of Nigeria. There are lots of good discussions all over the web about the internal struggles of the Episcopal Church and the entire Anglican Communion. Take a look at Amy Welborn’s post from yesterday or take a look at David Virtue’s web site. I was under the impression that the big debate in the Anglican Communion revolved around sexual and gender politics. According to the Washington Post, something more substantial is up for debate.

Tensions at St. Stephen's, as at the other eight churches, had been building for years over a question roiling the Episcopal Church, the U.S. branch of the global Anglican community: What does it mean to live according to scripture? Those who voted to leave think the Bible should be read literally, on the story of Jesus's resurrection and on iss…

It is All About Getting To Heaven

Former presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter are concerned about possible negative images of the Southern Baptists. Both have been life-long members of this denomination. Therefore, the two of them are banding together to develop a new covenant of American Baptists.

Former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton have proposed the establishment of a broadly inclusive alternative Baptist movement to counter what they called a negative image of Baptists and to address poverty, the environment and global conflicts.

Carter and Clinton kicked off their plans with a news conference Jan. 9 at the Carter Center in Atlanta, flanked by leaders of moderate Baptist groups including the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, a breakaway group of an unverified number of churches that objected to the election of conservative leaders in the Southern Baptist Convention. Carter and Clinton announced a “Celebration of a New Baptist Covenant,” tentatively set for Jan. 30-Feb. 1, 2008, at the Georgia World Cong…

Let Priests be Priests!

The January 21 issue of Our Sunday Visitor has a profile of Mary Foley. She is the pastoral-life coordinator for Mary Queen of Heaven Parish in Elmhurst, IL. What is a pastoral-life coordinator? It seems that because of a priest shortage some parishes have resorted to using the laity as “pastors”. I really don’t have a problem with relieving our priests from the administrative duties of accounting, budgeting, building programs, and general administrative tasks. Many have neither the training nor the inclination for the business end of running a parish.

However, I wish I could share with you the article and pictures from OSV. (the online version is available only to subscribers and doesn’t include the pictures.) One picture shows Ms. Foley dressed in a white alb prancing about with an aspergillum sprinkling holy water at some sort of worship activity. Don’t you think that will inspire the young men of the parish to consider the priesthood? Many who still seek the ordination of women…

Merck is Watching

I am really not surprised by this and don't necessarily think it is anything nefarious, but I was interested to see that Merck, manufacturer of Gardasil, found my blog post on their HPV vaccine.

Word for the Day: Despoliation

Dr. Jeff Mirus, co-founder of Christendom College, has some interesting thoughts on the possibility of despoliation of the Catholic Church in the United States.

How It Worked ThenThe key to the despoliation of the Church in every era is a plausible excuse which weak-kneed, semi-conscious, secularized Catholics will accept. Once there is a plausible excuse, a slightly anti-Catholic government will nearly always join forces with private citizens who stand to benefit financially by converting Church property into cold cash. With a plausible excuse in place, many Catholics and other fair-minded citizens will be so confused about whether or not the despoliation is justified that there will be virtually no significant negative response.The excuse in Henry VIII’s day was the unpopularity of the monks and nuns whose establishments had accumulated considerable wealth in lands, buildings, liturgical acoutrements and art treasures over the centuries, generally gifts from pious lay people. The hol…

The Me-centered Culture of Death

Dawn Eden is blogging about an article I saw in today’s Washington Times. The Alexandria, Virginia city school district is proposing teaching middle-schoolers about abortion and sexual orientation. The proposal in itself is an interesting topic. Dawn questions the agenda (as do I) of such a proposal. However, the comments on Dawn’s blog are definitely worth a read as well. One pro-abortion commenter in particular, Kim, makes me very sad.

I think that lives already in progress take precedence over lives that never actually happened. The minute a fetus can be outside of my body and survive is the minute it becomes a separate person with rights of its own. While pregnant, a fetus is little more than a parasite that MAY become a human if you nurture it.

Nobody has any inherent right to any part of my body, and I feel that the real underlying battle is over whether or not a woman can be legally and ideologically treated as physical property. If a woman volunteers to share her body with a fet…

The Legacy of Church Shoes

Yesterday we attended the 9:00 am Mass. As per usual, the church was full. This Mass attracts quite a few families with small children. One family in particular caught my eye. They had seven children dressed in their “Sunday best” who looked like they ranged in age from seven years old to a few weeks old. What attracted my attention was not the size of the family. Rather it was the behavior of the children. They were not perfect, but they were definitely under control. Mom and Dad were certainly busy and I doubt that Mass offers them much time for deep meditation, but it was clear that each child knew a certain level of decorum was expected. How do parents do that?

It’s the shoes. Okay, maybe it takes more than church shoes, but special clothes and shoes for church send a clear signal that the outing to church is not the same as an outing to the playground. As soon as my babies were out of the onesies they were into church clothes for Mass. By the time they were toddlers the boys had …

Birthday Celebration

My dear daughter's birthday was this past Monday, but she had a party with friends last evening. I didn't get to much blogging yesterday because I was busy with party preparations including this cake. (She has a thing for orcas. Maybe it was too many trips to Sea World.)

It was a really delightful group of kids. Here is the interesting thing, though. In this group of about thirteen high school juniors, only three or four had a driver's license. My daughter has just completed the required training and only yesterday became legally eligible to drive solo. My older boys were the same way. They didn't really start driving much until they were high school seniors. This is a far cry from my generation when we were ready to get behind the wheel the minute the DMV opened on our sixteenth birthday. I am not complaining. It keeps me in touch with the other parents as they drop off and pick up kids. I am also happy to see fewer teen drivers on the road. Is this a similar scenar…

Vaccine Marketing

Front page of today’s Washington Post Metro section had a big article on the support for the new HPV vaccine, Gardasil.

This week, the District became the latest jurisdiction to propose adding the vaccine to the list of shots girls would have to get before enrolling in the sixth grade. Yesterday, Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) voiced his support, saying hearings to flesh out the program should satisfy parental concerns.

At least two similar bills were introduced last week in the Virginia General Assembly. And in Maryland, state Sen. Delores G. Kelley (D-Baltimore County) has prepared a bill that requires middle school vaccinations. Kelley said she expects strong support from teachers and female lawmakers.

I addressed this topic back in June when Gardasil was approved by the FDA. Then as now I can justify a parent wanting his or her daughter vaccinated. This vaccine does prevent a sexually transmitted disease that can lead to cervical cancer. What I cannot justify is making the vaccine mandato…

An issue bigger than Down's Syndrome

Amy Welborn has a terrific post about the move to extend prenatal screening for Down's Syndrome to all pregnancies, not just to those in women over age thirty-five.

This issue is so much bigger than Down’s Syndrome. The contraceptive culture views parenting as the acquisition of children--not much different than buying a car or a house. They are accessories to adorn the perfect Christmas card. How on earth could a parent with that mentality stomach anything less than a “perfect child”.

There is great pressure to abort brought to bear on women found to be pregnant with a child with Down’s Syndrome. Prenatal testing has extended to include genes for potential adult cancers. Another group suggests that maleness is justification for abortion in families with a history of autism.

Therefore, the battle for pro-life forces is not with the procedure of abortion itself—though I would dearly love to this barbaric procedure outlawed. The real fight is with the cultural mindset. We must reverse …

Alphabet Meme

I guess it is only fair since I have tagged Sarah a couple of times lately that she reciprocate by tagging me for the Alphabet meme.
[A is for apparitions - your favorite]: Our Lady of Guadalupe

[B is for Bible - the one you read most often] New American Bible
[C is for Charism - the one you would most like to have]: See this for a list of options and a discussion of Charism. I would choose the office of teacher.

[D is for Doctor of the Church - your favorite]: St. Therese of Lisieux, the Little Flower
[E is for Essential Prayer - What's yours?]: Hail Mary—How does a mother get through the day without it?

[F is for Favorite Hymn]: Immaculate Mary
[G is for Gospel - your favorite author?]: Luke

[H is for Holy Communion - How would you describe it, using one word?]: Awesome

[I is for Inspiration - When do you feel most inspired by God?]: During times of creativity—writing, gardening, or cooking

[J is for Jesus - When did you first meet Him?]: I can’t remember a time I didn’t know of Him. He…

Happy Birthday

17 years ago today, my little island of civilization was born. In a household filled with Y-chromosomes, you burst forth to share your feminine genius. Of course, being raised as the only daughter in a house full of sons does mean that your feminine genius does not always include pink bows and ruffles. You eschewed dolls and preferred your brothers’ Hot Wheels. But unlike your brothers, you made the cars speak to each other, form families, and go on picnics. You have grown into the vice-Mom, knowing everybody’s schedule and where everybody’s shoes were last seen. You see value in a pretty table setting and ritual meals.

I am so proud of all you have done. You have an ability to focus that few attain. Whether it is your schoolwork, your soccer playing, or your music you approach it with a singular passion. Yet it is your faith that I admire most. In spite of the pressures of school, sports, and friends, you have set your faith as a priority. I consider it a great blessing that you have …

A Smorgasbord for Bibliophiles

“So many books, so little time” I know this feeling well. There are numerous posts on the web right now with ideas for reading. I mentioned a few of my reading goals last week but after reading these posts, I may need to make some adjustments.

Eric Scheske links to Baronius Press. This new publisher has a beautiful series of Catholic Classics in paperback. I am a sucker for matched sets and could really see my bookshelves expanding to hold these. Ignatius Press features a “best books of 2006” piece on its web site with a few more suggestions. And finally, consummate bibliophile, Mama T, posts her 2006 book awards.

I think the pile of books by my bedside could grow exponentially!

Prayer answered--Prayer requested

Back in November I asked for prayers for Lynn as she began induction chemotherapy. May God be praised! Lynn has now been declared in remission. Please continue to pray for her recovery. I now ask for prayers for Ken. He has been fighting the battle against a brain tumor for a couple of years. It looks like he has reached the end of his treatment options and has just been enrolled in hospice. Please pray for both Ken and his wife as well as their young children.

Still Courageous

I wrote back in August about our Courageous Pastor. Under his leadership we have started regular holy hours, Eucharistic Adoration, daily confession, and truly reverent liturgies. This evening he stunned us by telling us that due to his deteriorating health he must take an early medical retirement. He will be leaving in two weeks. He has accomplished in a mere 18 months what many pastors cannot due in 18 years. I know that he loves being a priest and would only leave if he thought it was in the best interest of the parish to turn the reins over to someone with better health. Still, I am so sad. Please keep our courageous pastor in your prayers.

A Way to Foster Vocations

The Bethlehem Poor Clare Monastery in Barhamsville, Virginia has a blog. Yesterday they offered this plea to support a young woman seeking to join the Poor Clares.

I write to enlist your help with a very worthy cause. There is a young lady by the name of Kirsten Goza who has been recently accepted by Mother Miriam to enter the Poor Clares. She was supposed to enter on the feast of St. Francis, October 4, 2006.

I know Kirsten, as she was a FOCUS missionary for 3 years (many of you know that I used to be a FOCUS missionary before I joined the staff at St. Louis). FOCUS is a Catholic outreach on college campuses. Kirsten was with FOCUS for 3 years, 2003-2006. During that time she heard God's call to the cloister and had started to work on paying off her college loans (from Franciscan University of Steubenville) so she could pursue her vocation. A very generous donor paid half of her debt, and she had found a grant to pay the other half. However, that grant fell through and her entrance…

I like Catholic Matriarch better but....

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
Her Eminence the Very Viscountess Denise the Formidable of Heffton St Mallet
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title

The Untold Story of Daily Mass

Amy Welborn posts about attending daily Mass.

She was surprised at how crowded it was - well, it was noon, it was downtown, and it was (is) First Friday. But it was packed, and it occurred to me that this is one of the great untold stories of U.S. Catholicism - the numbers of folks who attend daily Mass. I'd like to see a team of reporters and photographers hit some downtown churches across the country for their schedule of weekday Masses, from 6 AM on, to see the numbers of folks there, and even to talk to a few, to take some photographs. It would give flesh to the story, to the story of Catholics are taking their faith seriously, who are leaving the house extra early or skipping lunch so they can go to Mass, hear the Scriptures, and be joined in Communion in, through and as the Body of Christ.

Since my high school years I have gone to daily Mass at least occasionally. When I was in medical school I would drive to a suburban parish for daily Mass just to get change of scenery from…

Catholic Devotions Meme

Rosemary tagged me on this one. Here goes:

1. Favorite devotion or prayer to Jesus.

Mass. I also really love the prayer Anima Christi

2. Favorite Marian devotion or prayer.

The Rosary. My favorite title for Blessed Mother is Our Lady of Guadalupe.

3. Do you wear a scapular or medal?

I always have one with me, but I am not always wearing it

4. Do you have holy water in your home?

I do not have a font at home, but I do have a bottle of holy water at home.

5. Do you "offer up" your sufferings?

Yes, and I am working at doing a better job of it.

6.Do you observe first Fridays and first Saturdays.


7. Do you go to Eucharistic Adoration? How Frequently?

Yes, but not regularly. Probably once per month.

8. Are you a Saturday evening Mass person or a Sunday morning Mass person?

I prefer the first Mass said on Sunday but the kids’ schedules often mean a Saturday evening Mass. It is more important to me that we go as a family.

9. Do you say prayers at mealtime?

Yes. “Bless us O Lord….


American Character is Not a Myth!

At the present time I have two children in college and a third child beginning the college search process in earnest. That is why The Young America Foundation’s publication The Dirty Dozen: America’s Most Bizarre and Politically Correct College Courses caught my eye.

As college costs soar through the roof—averaging above $31,000 a year for tuition, room & board—today’s college students study adultery, the male genital, and Native American feminism. The Dirty Dozen highlights the most bizarre and troubling instances of leftist activism supplanting traditional scholarship in our nation’s colleges and universities.

The growth of these courses gobbles up tons of money and resources and ignores scholarship from conservatives. For instance, books and speeches from the late Milton Friedman and Ambassador Jean Kirkpatrick are rarely studied in the classroom, yet leftist works are prevalent in college classrooms nationwide. Scores of courses were researched from hundreds of the nation’s lead…