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Showing posts from April, 2007

Feeding a Family is More Than a Trip to the Grocery Store

Governor Ted Kulongoski and his wife are trying to limit themselves to $42.00 for groceries for one week. That is the amount spent by the average food stamp recipient in Oregon. The stated goal is to call attention to the plight of hunger in our wealthy country. Cynics charge it is nothing more than a publicity stunt.

Back in my medical school days I budgeted ten dollars per week for groceries. Since that was twenty-five years ago, it is probably not too far off from what the governor is trying to do now. I spend far more than that now, but lessons learned during those lean times carry over to my times of blessed abundance. Having very little makes one appreciate what is a necessity and what is a luxury. The more food is processed and packaged, the more expensive it is. Pre-shredded cheese, boned and skinned chicken breasts, or frozen dinners are luxuries. When I was a starving student, I shredded my own cheese, peeled the skin off the chicken breasts, and never ate frozen dinners. Now…

A Prayer for Students

This week’s bulletin from St. Raymond of Penafort parish offered the following prayer for all students who are studying for exams:

O Great St. Joseph of Cupertino
Who while on earth did obtain from God
The grace to be asked at your examination
Only the questions you knew,
Obtain for me a like favor in the examinations
for which I am now preparing.
In return, I promise to make you known and cause you to be invoked.

Through Christ, our Lord,

St. Joseph of Cupertino, Pray for Us.


Now I really didn’t know much about St. Joseph of Cupertino so the line about being asked only questions he knew sounded intriguing. A little research shows that St. Joseph of Cupertino lived in the 17th century. He wanted to join the Franciscans but was a terrible student. He was a very pleasant young man, but just couldn’t make information stick in his head. Yet one verse from the Gospel of St. Luke, did seem to stick. “Beatus venter qui te portavit” (Luke 11:27) On this verse he could wax eloquently. I read the f…

How Prepared is Prepared Enough?

Fr. Jim Tucker is a priest in my diocese, but not at my parish. He has a post on the Sacraments that leaves me with such mixed emotions.

So, yes, the faithful have a right to receive the Sacraments from their pastors. But that right presumes that the person is adequately prepared to receive the Sacraments. To give out the Sacraments indiscriminately without bothering to ascertain the readiness of those who are seeking them is a sham on a number of counts. First, it treats a Sacrament like a party favor, given just to make people feel good. It turns religion into a rote ritual, empty of its true meaning and any necessary connection to faith in Jesus Christ and discipleship to Him. It cooperates in the tragedy of turning the practices of the Faith into quaint cultural observances, like Groundhog's Day or eating cabbage on New Year's. And I really think it reduces the Christian Sacraments to the equivalents of superstitious magic rituals, or perhaps a good excuse for a party. In t…

Confirmation is a Sacrament of Initiation

We are winding down our 7th grade CCD year. I have done my best to prepare these students for the Sacrament of Confirmation. More importantly, I have done my best to instill in them a sense that learning about the faith is a lifelong process. However, considering our preparation program, it is difficult. We use the Faith and Life series by Ignatius Press that is absolutely wonderful. I could not ask for a better textbook. But our program does not deem a school year covering the nuts and bolts of our faith as enough preparation. This coming Tuesday I will be administering a four page mostly fill-in-the-blank final exam. Our parish policy is the students have to pass in order to be confirmed. Passing is a mere 65%. The students have had a copy of the actual test to study. We have covered all the questions in class. This shouldn’t be difficult to pass, but this test is causing all kinds of unnecessary angst and anxiety in my students. I have taken it upon myself to relieve some of this …

Is there something in the water in St. Louis?

Is there something in the water in St. Louis? First St. Louis University goes to court to establish it is not controlled by either the Catholic Church or the Catholic creed. This in spite of a mission statement that says:

The Mission of Saint Louis University is the pursuit of truth for the greater glory of God and for the service of humanity. The University seeks excellence in the fulfillment of its corporate purposes of teaching, research and community service. It is dedicated to leadership in the continuing quest for understanding of God?s creation, and for the discovery, dissemination and integration of the values, knowledge and skills required to transform society in the spirit of the Gospels. As a Catholic, Jesuit university, the pursuit is motivated by the inspiration and values of the Judaeo-Christian tradition and is guided by the spiritual and intellectual ideals of the Society of Jesus.

Now the Cardinal Glennon Children’s Foundation is butting heads with Archbishop Burke ove…

Experts Say: Religion is Good For Kids

I spent a lot of time blogging yesterday so I was determined to play catch up with a great many tasks awaiting my attention. Then I saw this.

Kids with religious parents are better behaved and adjusted than other children, according to a new study that is the first to look at the effects of religion on young child development.

Kudos for religion from the MSM are few and far between so we should celebrate this. Of course, I am not surprised by the results of the study. The sociologist who conducted the study had this to say:

Bartkowski thinks religion can be good for kids for three reasons. First, religious networks provide social support to parents, he said, and this can improve their parenting skills. Children who are brought into such networks and hear parental messages reinforced by other adults may also “take more to heart the messages that they get in the home,” he said.

Secondly, the types of values and norms that circulate in religious congregations tend to be self-sacrificing and …

Give Them The Mass!!!!!

This is so wrong!

Can the Catholic Church learn anything from the growth of evangelical Christian megachurches?

A Xavier University class on evangelization and marketing of churches hopes to answer that question.

In its second year, the class is taking it further with a Catholic "seeker-friendly" service at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Cintas Center.

The service - not a Mass - is called Road Trip and will feature contemporary Catholic music by several local artists and the Rev. Eric Knapp, a Jesuit priest in his 30s. It's aimed not only at the college campus but young adults throughout Greater Cincinnati.

Seeker-friendly services are designed for people who don't regularly attend such services, and some of the formal sections of the service are not included.

"We understand the Mass is central to the Catholic Church, and we're not looking to replace it. But it's not exactly seeker-friendly. It can be difficult for a visitor to step in and know everything that'…

Evangelical Catholic?

Thanks to a link from Jay Anderson, I stumbled across this interesting exchange.

Fr. Dwight Longenecker wrote of his introduction to the Evanglical Catholic Institute. Now Fr. Longenecker is an orthodox priest and I think he genuinely appreciates the mission of evangelization. However this particular group is not without controversy as evidenced by the fur flying in the comment box. Significantly, this group utilizes two speakers who have publicly dissident opinions about women’s ordination and the Church teaching on contraception. Catholic Cultures gives this group a cautionary rating in the fidelity category.

Another troubling aspect to this website is the presence of two people who hold dissident views at their Evangelical Catholic Institute. This is more significant because they only had three speakers at each institute. The first is Fr. Jim Bacik, a proponent of women's ordination who believes abortion should not be criminalized, and the second is Dr. William Portier, who attac…

Pope Benedict XVI on St. Augustine and conversion

Pope Benedict used the occasion of his visit to the Lombardi Dioceses of Vigevano and Pavia to speak of conversion, specifically the conversion of St. Augustine. This from the Catholic News Agency:

The Pope continued by expressing his desire to list the three great steps on this path to conversion. The first fundamental conversion, he said, is the interior journey towards Christianity—that is, the desire to want to know Christ.

The second conversion is described by St. Augustine at the end of the second book of his Confessions. After having been baptized, St. Augustine returned to Africa and there he founded together with his friends, a small monastery. However, the second step was his being called to live with Christ for all. He had to translate his knowledge and sublime thoughts into the language and thinking of the simple people of his city.

Citing his humility as the third decisive step on St. Augustine’s path to conversion, the pope told those present that Augustine ahd found the h…

Get A Mac Across the Pond

We’ve been Mac users since the very first days of the Apple MacIntosh 512K computers. I get a kick out of the Apple get-a-mac ads that feature the bespectacled uptight guy as the PC and the somewhat slovenly but fun-loving guy as the Mac.
I just ran across the British versions of these ads. I thought these were funnier than the American versions. Yet the British Public doesn’t seem to be enjoying these near as much as Americans are enjoying theirs. What do you think?

A few less flowery thoughts on Earth Day

Yesterday was Earth Day and the MSM was out in force singing the praises of Mother Earth. You know, I love the great outdoors and would like to do all I can to minimize the effects of our technology on the environment. I drive a Prius. I like to use public transportation when I can. We use those energy efficient curly light bulbs. I put a load of recycling out at the curb every week. This conservationism is part of being a good steward of God’s creation. Like a good Boy Scout I try to leave my “camp site” better than I found it. I try to avoid the sin of gluttony as I utilize our earth’s resources. However, I am not going to jump up and down over global warming because Hollywood and the Democratic Party (Is that redundant?) have made it their issue du jour. I do not subscribe to the religion of environmentalism.

Thanks to David Alexander I found this great post by Kathy Shaidle on earth day and the environmental movement.

The first Earth Day "teach-in" was celebrated on April …

It is Not A Catholic Issue

In a 5-4 ruling, The Supreme Court of the United States of America ruled that a federal ban on partial birth abortion is constitutional. How did The Philadelphia Inquirer respond to this?

The five judges who voted to uphold the ban are Catholic. But this is not a Catholic issue. The Supreme Court was not asked to rule on the True Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist or on the Perpetual Virginity of Mary. The court ruled on a matter of human dignity.

The Catholic Church’s position on abortion is not unique to Catholics. It harkens back to the concept of Natural Law. All human beings are endowed with dignity because they are created. Our own Declaration of Independence states:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

It has been a great struggle in our country and around the world to establish that “all men” means men and wo…

With God's Grace

My God is the rock where I take refuge; my shield, my mighty help, my stronghold (Ps. 18: 3)

After Mass this morning I made my coffee and settled down to read the Washington Post. I spent the next half hour crying as I read the chronological account of the Monday’s terror at Virginia Tech. It was so upsetting. But I had to keep reading because this is all that is truly knowable.

We can piece together the chronology of the shooter’s actions, the university’s response, and the students’ responses. But that chronology will never really tell us why this happened. There will be all sorts of theories and speculations about the underlying pathology of Cho Seung Hui and what set him off on his mission of carnage. There will be rounds of second-guessing the Virginia Tech administration’s decisions. But these are all hypothetical musings. We will never really know.

Jesus said he wanted us to be in this world, but not of this world. Our faith teaches us to keep our sights on Heaven.

The one who come…

Catholic Mothers Online Blogroll

You may notice a lovely new button for Catholic Mothers Online in my sidebar. If you are a Catholic Mother, a Catholic Mother-to-be, or a Catholic maternal figure for others, consider adding your blog to the growing list. Just click on the button link in the sidebar.

A Motherly Act?

"It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish."—Mother Teresa

These words of Mother Teresa are the only fitting response to Caitlin Moran’s disturbing editorial in the Online Times.

My belief in the ultimate sociological, emotional and practical necessity for abortion did, as I have mentioned before, become even stronger after I had my two children. It is only after you have had a nine-month pregnancy, laboured to get the child out, fed it, cared for it, sat with it until 3am, risen with it at 6am, swooned with love for it and been reduced to furious tears by it that you really understand just how important it is for a child to be wanted. And, possibly even more importantly, to be wanted by a reasonably sane, stable mother. Last year I had an abortion, and I can honestly say it was one of the least difficult decisions of my life. I’m not being flippant when I say it took me longer to decide what work-tops to have in the kitchen than whether …

The Tragedy Hits Close To Home

The shooter as well as several of the victims of yesterday’s tragic massacre at Virginia Tech are graduates of my children’s school district. I know people who know them. My twelve-year-old watched a video featuring holocaust survivors in his history class yesterday. At just about the same time he was watching the video, one of the survivors, Professor Liviu Librescu, was giving his life to save his students.

Perhaps it was a blessing that yesterday we were without power due to the wind storm so I wasn’t inundated with information about this horrific event. Today I feel overwhelmed as the enormity of the loss sinks in. As I drive around town I get all teary eyed every time I see a Virginia Tech bumper sticker. I don’t know if the person in the other car is intimately connected to the shootings. I wonder if he or she is grieving. I keep offering a silent prayer, just in case.

I mentioned below that my son was waiting to hear the fate of two of his friends. Prayers are answered and they …

Angel of God?

image source

Okay, I am not trying to ruin anyone’s breakfast by posting this so early, but do go over to Dawn Eden’s blog, The Dawn Patrol, and see the latest commercial from San Francisco’s Planned Parenthood chapter. It depicts a “the guardian angel of safe sex” who makes sure couples use a condom and then sticks around because he “likes to watch”. They can dress the angel character in white but I guarantee you that is not an angel of God. I do believe St. Michael has some work to do in San Franciso.

Saint Michael the Archangel,defend us in battle.Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.May God rebuke him, we humbly pray;and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host -by the Divine Power of God -cast into hell, satan and all the evil spirits,who roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls.Amen.

Only Prayer seems to Make Sense Right Now.

Like the rest of the nation I am in disbelief and heartbroken over the tragedy at Virginia Tech. The senseless loss of life is impossible to comprehend. Like most others living in Virginia, I have friends who have children attending Virginia Tech. My sons are in school in Texas but they have friends who attend Virginia Tech. One son has been scanning the Facebook pages looking for updates from his friends to let him know they are safe. There are two friends in particular he has not been able to reach. I am praying for them.

As I spoke with the mother of a Virginia Tech student she commented on how difficult this is for the students from the Virginia suburbs of Washington D.C. They first experienced a large scale tragedy on 9/11 when a plane slammed into the Pentagon. Virtually everyone knew someone who lost a friend or loved one in that tragic event. Then in the fall of 2002 the sniper terrorized the area for weeks. Once again, these students were personally affected. Even if they did…

The Real Lessons in the Study of Abstinence-Only Eucation

Both the Washington Post and the Washington Times have front page mention of the latest study on “abstinence-only” education programs. Both report on the alleged “failure” of these programs because they do not perform better than the traditional “have-sex-safely” programs. Many are calling for the end of funding for abstinence-only education. Why? They work just as well as the long-standing “how-to-have-sex” programs that these folks support funding. Students in the abstinence-only program were more knowledgeable about the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases.

I would say the results of this study are disappointing but I wouldn’t say they are the sweeping indictment of abstinence education that critics claim. I really can’t tell from reading the news articles what the rigorous definition of an “abstinence-only” program is. The Times mentions that four different abstinence programs were used.

The Mathematica study involved 2,057 children, including 1,209 who participated in &qu…

Technology Gone Astray

Rob Vischer at Mirror of Justice points us to this article from the Independent:

The prospect of all-female conception
By Steve Connor, Science Editor
Published: 13 April 2007

Women might soon be able to produce sperm in a development that could allow lesbian couples to have their own biological daughters, according to a pioneering study published today.

Scientists are seeking ethical permission to produce synthetic sperm cells from a woman's bone marrow tissue after showing that it possible to produce rudimentary sperm cells from male bone-marrow tissue.

The researchers said they had already produced early sperm cells from bone-marrow tissue taken from men. They believe the findings show that it may be possible to restore fertility to men who cannot naturally produce their own sperm.

But the results also raise the prospect of being able to take bone-marrow tissue from women and coaxing the stem cells within the female tissue to develop into sperm cells, said Professor Karim Nayernia of …

Divine Creation

How on earth does anyone deny the existence of God at this time of the year? In spite of last week’s April snow shower, spring has sprung. Life is bursting forth everywhere. Daffodils fill my garden. Fragrant hyacinths line the front border like giant Easter eggs. Many of my perennials are poking through the earth. I have a couple of Bleeding Heart plants blossoming now.

And, oh, the birds! I have two tubular feeders filled with niger seed on my deck. They are constantly adorned with purple finches and goldfinches. I find the goldfinches particularly intriguing. When I first filled the feeders about three weeks ago, the goldfinches were barely recognizable. They all looked alike—more grubby brown than gold. Over the last few weeks though, the males have shed their winter dullness and put on brilliant yellow. They don’t change all at once. A week ago they still had large splotches of brown marring their bright yellow color. They looked like they had been splashed with mud. Now the yell…

Check out

Just wanted to remind you of a newcomer to the collection of online digests of Catholic teaching and commentary. You will see quite a list of contributors including big names like Carl Olson and Mark Shea as well as little names like moi. And they have really cool coffee mugs.

Food for the Journey

I wish I could say that I made Daily Mass every day without fail. Alas, I am not there yet. Some weekdays I have a very good reason for missing Mass. Other days it is just laziness that keeps me away. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.

Why should Daily Mass attendance be a goal? Think of the disciples on the road to Emmaus. “He was made known to them in the breaking of the bread.” Every day is like a journey to Emmaus. I will encounter Christ throughout the day. But will I recognize Him? Like the disciples I can be distracted by the world around me. Christ can be standing right before me and I will look high, low, and all around and not see Him. Yet when I attend Mass and receive His True Presence, my eyes are opened. Of course my eyes are also opened when I receive Him on Sunday. But then comes Monday and the laundry, dental appointments, soccer practices, music lessons, bills and deadlines hide Him from me. Daily Mass uncovers Him for me once again. I can see Him in the gr…

Washington Post Peep Show

What do you do with all those stale Easter marshmallow Peeps? Take a look at the Washington Post Peep Show for some ideas. These are too funny!!

Wise Words from Cardinal Arinze

If you have been reading my blog for any length of time, you know I am a great fan of Cardinal Arinze. (Note the link to his webcast on my sidebar.)The Apostolate for Family Consecration has produced this video of Cardinal Arnize that is perfect to watch now that Lent is over. We have just spent forty days in penance and prayer increasing our spiritual strength. So what do we do with this newly found fortitude? Cardinal Arinze gives us clear concrete instructions on the calling of the lay faithful. He outlines our responsibility for the present moment.

The video is just over forty-five minutes long so go ahead and make your coffee or tea and settle in for the perfect spiritual pep talk. Better yet, gather your spouse and older children (probably ages 12 and over) and watch it together. We are each called to live lives of holiness and to be saints. Let Cardinal Arinze explain to you how it is done.

Divine Mercy for Straying Souls

Today is the fifth day of the Divine Mercy Novena. The Apostolate for Family Consecration is continuing a podcast of each day’s devotional meditations. Today we bring the souls of those who have left the Church to The Divine Mercy of Jesus.

Today bring to Me the souls of heretics and schismatics, and immerse them in the ocean of My Mercy. During My bitter Passion they tore at My Body and Heart; that is, My Church. As they return to unity with the Church, My wounds heal, and in this way they alleviate My Passion.

Just two days ago we celebrated the great feast of Easter. Sitting with us in the pews, were countless souls who have separated themselves from the Church. It is so easy to write them off as “C&E” Catholics. Yet these souls still hunger enough for Christ’s Church that they will make it to Easter Mass. We do not know what keeps them away. Perhaps it is ignorance, anger, pride, or pain.

Let us remember in a special way these souls as we pray today’s Divine Mercy Chaplet. Let us…

The Divine Mercy Devotion

Somewhat lost in the Easter shuffle is the Divine Mercy devotion. From the website:

In the early 1900’s, Our Lord gave many great mystical graces to Sister Faustina of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy in Poland. He also gave her a mission - to tell the world that He is Mercy itself, and that before He returns as a just Judge, He is coming as a merciful Savior. Jesus called Faustina His “Secretary of Divine Mercy”, and commanded her to write everything He told her. In obedience, Faustina kept a diary, now called "Divine Mercy in My Soul", and published by the Marians Fathers of the Immaculate Conception of Stockbridge, Massachusetts. This printed diary fills over 600 pages. Over 7 times He told her that this message would prepare the world for His final coming.

Pope John Paul II was a great believer in the Divine Mercy Devotion. The Chaplet of the Divine Mercy can be prayed at any time. The prayers of the chaplet are counted on a Rosary. The Novena to the Divine Me…

Regina Coeli

Queen of Heaven, rejoice, alleluia.
For He whom you did merit to bear, alleluia.

Has risen, as he said, alleluia.
Pray for us to God, alleluia.

Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary, alleluia.
For the Lord has truly risen, alleluia.

Let us pray. O God, who gave joy to the world through the resurrection of Thy Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, grant we beseech Thee, that through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, His Mother, we may obtain the joys of everlasting life. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

Alleluia! He is Risen!

A Blessed Easter to All! May the joy of the Resurrection fill your day. Pax Christi.

These Parents Should Be Ashamed

Exactly what does the left wing want? The town of Littleton, Colorado is unveiling a statue to honor fallen Navy Seal, Danny Dietz. A Littleton native, Dietz was killed while serving in Afghanistan. The statue is modeled after a photograph of Dietz and shows him holding his military automatic rifle. Because of the weapon, a few citizens are protesting the statue as “glorifying violence”. They say it should not be located so close to schools and playgrounds.

A group of Littleton parents is opposing the design and location of a memorial to a fallen local Navy SEAL, Danny Dietz, who died in combat in Afghanistan two years ago.

They say the statue, depicting Dietz clutching an automatic rifle, glorifies violence. In Berry Park, it would be within blocks of three schools and two playgrounds.

"I don't think young children should be exposed to that in that way - unsupervised by their parents or any adults," said Emily Cassidy, one of the mothers.

On the other hand, anti-war protest…

Did Lent Make A Difference?

In just a few hours we will sing Alleluia and proclaim, “Jesus Christ is Risen Indeed!” So, what did the last forty days mean? What did I learn from Lent? How will Easter be different because of Lent?

Spiritually, the last forty days were dominated by our Family Consecration. Like so many other milestones of faith, this consecration was not an end but a beginning. I learned that my personal prayer life is important, but committing to a family prayer life is crucial as well. I thought we were doing pretty well to get to Mass every Sunday, say grace before meals, and add in a few extra prayers during Advent when we lit the candles on the wreath. This Lent we pushed ourselves a bit and discovered we could do more. We have a family vocation in addition to our individual vocations.

Imagine Catholic families around the world gathering to pray in their domestic churches on a regular basis. I used to think of this as a valuable technique to instill the faith in children so they would keep it a…

New Jersey Christian Terrorists?

I hesitated to blog on this because it is Good Friday and I really don’t want to rant needlessly. However, perhaps Good Friday is exactly the right day to discuss this. According to this news report, school officials in Burlington Township, NJ staged a mock terrorism drill.

BURLINGTON TOWNSHIP — The scenario has played out in real life across America: Gunfire echoes through a school and students are held hostage.

But police, faculty and staff lived out their own make-believe version yesterday of just such a tragedy at Burlington Township High School, complete with Kevlar-clad officers, armed suspects and students portraying the wounded and dead.

Who are these fearsome terrorists? Christians, of course.

Two Burlington Township police detectives portrayed the gunmen. Investigators described them as members of a right-wing fundamentalist group called the “New Crusaders” who don't believe in separation of church and state. The mock gunmen went to the school seeking justice because the dau…

The Way of the Cross with Pope Benedict XVI

The Way of the Cross at the Colosseum will be led by Pope Benedict XVI today. The meditations were written by Monsignor Gianfanco Ravasi and can be read here.I highly recommend this site as a devotion for today. The artwork is also very nice.

The Triduum Begins

I just returned from the Mass of the Lord’s Supper. The Triduum has begun. My twelve-year-old was a bit irritated when he realized that Holy Thursday was not really a Holy Day of Obligation. This day falls into the category of Mommy Days of Obligations. Like Thanksgiving Day, our family will be at Mass. I cannot imagine ignoring the Mass that celebrates the institution of the Eucharist, the source and summit of our faith. We were blessed this evening with an inspiring liturgy. Even my pre-teen with the adolescent attitude came out of Mass saying, “That was an awesome Mass”. Our three priests concelebrated. There was plenty of incense and lots of Latin. The church was packed.

Tomorrow we will commemorate Our Lord’s Passion with the Good Friday liturgy as well as the Living Stations of the Cross. Our high school youth group offers this dramatic presentation of the Stations of the Cross annually on Good Friday. My daughter spent the afternoon practicing for this. She will spend several ho…