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Showing posts from June, 2007

English and Latin Hymn Meme

On a more positive note...

Here is a beautiful post from Fr. Dwight Longenecker that puts the Mass in perfect perspective. It is a needed antidote after a bit of ranting on liturgical music. Even when the music, the architecture, the homily, or something else about a Mass is less than ideal, the Truth of the Mass cannot be overshadowed.

I robed and walked in with the server and the deacon with a plea for forgiveness on my lips and an awareness that I was feeling weak and tired and I really had nothing to offer at all except my time. Then at the heart of the Mass was a tremendous silence. The liturgy of the Church was waiting to welcome me. Not my words, not my wisdom, not my clever thoughts, but the Word of God, the gospel of Christ and the liturgy of Holy Mother Church to gather me up and bear me along. I looked out at the faces of the faithful---nearly a hundred people who had turned up--were waiting for God, waiting for his Word, waiting for his presence. It was too much, and I felt quite overwhelmed by it al…

A Little Rant

This week’s Arlington Catholic Herald has a front-page article on liturgical music. However, the title “Something for Everyone” tells you pretty quickly this is not an exploration of the rich musical heritage of the Catholic Church. This was not a discussion of the growing use of chant in area Masses. No, this was a happy-clapppy celebration that any kind of music is fine for the liturgy. Rock On!

Here is my written response:

As a regular reader and writer of Catholic internet blogs, I know that nothing will get the comments flowing like a discussion of Catholic liturgical music. Unfortunately, our Catholic musical heritage has been cast aside by many parishes following Vatican II. Your front-page article perpetuated the notion that “full and active participation” means the congregation must be singing along. This is erroneous. “Full and active participation” means the congregation must be fully present to the Mysteries of the Mass. The congregation should focus on the Mass rather than…

Pondering Pigs

Hurray for CBS and Fox television networks. They refused to run this ad for Trojan condoms Of course, Planned Parenthood is upset that the networks won’t run an ad suggesting it is a great idea to have sex with a man you just met in a bar—provided he is using a Trojan condom.

Dawn Eden has a lively discussion of this going on at her site.

As the mother of three sons and one daughter I have my own perspective.

I think this commercial is incredibly sexist. Any woman who is sitting in a bar, looking for a sexual hook-up, and whose only concern is whether or not her prospective partner has a condom fits right in with the porcine crowd. It is not just men who can be pigs.

Can nice men and women meet in bars? Sure they can. Usually it is through mutual friends getting together at a favorite watering hole. Men cruising the bars and picking up women with bulging cleavage and hiked up skirts is an activity more akin to mud wrestling and is the proper purview of pigs—male and female. If you don’t w…

This is an easy "No Way!" for me

Speaking of parenting, there is one high school graduation ritual my kids will not be part of: Beach Week.

Far from the tiny campus of Sidwell Friends in Northwest, graduates found themselves in the custody of Rehoboth Beach police.

In all, there were 33 arrests, 25 of them are 18 to 19 years old, 8 are juveniles. And instead of spending Friday on the beach, they all went to court facing charges of underage possession of alcohol.

Officers arrested 33 people at a party on Philadelphia Street Thursday night. The headmaster at Sidwell Friends said he recognized some of the names as students who graduated this month.

After graduation, hordes of new high school graduates hit the beach for a week of sun, surf, booze, and sex, courtesy of Mom and Dad’s generous funding. Many parents focus on the sun and surf and conveniently ignore the booze and sex. I know the kids will be off to college in a matter of months and the temptations will be there. Yet, things like classes, clubs, and sports on the…

Parents Pay for Parenting

In light of my earlier post, I found this news article interesting:

While the Freddie Bell James school - named for D.C. socialite and professional etiquette consultant Freddie Bell Jones, Thomas' grandmother-in-law - does not teach morals, "we do teach values," Thomas said. "It's the small things," Thomas continued, "Like when you're at a grocery store, putting the shopping cart back instead of leaving it in the parking lot. Or knocking before you enter a room, or saying 'please' and 'thank you.' When you borrow something, returning it in the same condition. Respecting other people's opinions. "It's about having integrity. They're not 'save the world' changes, but they're courtesies, and that makes a difference."
I wonder how much parents are paying someone else to teach their children to say "please" and "thank you".

I thought I was a little bit edgier than that!

Is Paying Parents the Answer?

This morning’s Washington Times ran this column by Bill O’Reily. He reports on a move in New York City to bribe bad parents to do what is right for their kids:

Now there is a move in New York City to bribe bad parents. Mayor Michael Bloomberg has set up an anti-poverty initiative, financed by private donations, including his own, that would pay bad parents to do things that good parents do without thought.

For example, if a parent takes a child to the dentist for a checkup, that parent would get $100 for each kid the dentist sees.

If a parent secures a library card for the child, that warrants a $50 payment.

Attending parent-teacher conferences, another $50.

The program would also give money to kids who perform well in school.

Under Bloomberg's initial offering, 13,000 poor families would be eligible to get the cash, which could add up to $6,000 a year.

Is this really the level to which our society has descended? We now have to pay parents to be parents? Unfortunately, I don’t think this…

Garden Survivors

The battles continue in my garden. The bunny remains at large. A groundhog had joined forces with him. In fact this groundhog had established a bunker just outside my front door. My oldest son, with all the cunning of Wile. E. Coyote, has been setting traps for my furry adversaries. The groundhog became a prisoner on Friday. He was transported to a local park several miles away. I am hoping he is not equipped with a sophisticated homing device.

In spite of these enemy assaults, some plants in my perennial garden are thriving.

Daisies! I have an abundance of daisies. I was supposed to have a variety of coneflowers joining the daisies, but the coneflowers were too tempting to the enemy. Apparently my daisies are not as appetizing. They do make lovely bouquets.

This is a John Paul II cultivar of clematis. I am so happy because I planted this three years ago and this is the first year it has bloomed. I think it is because I learned to properly trim the ends to stimulate blooming.

Every year …

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Pray For Us

Asia News has this very distressing report from China.

Next July 16th pilgrims and faithful from Henan will not be allowed to go on pilgrimage to the sanctuary in Tianjiajing. The government from the province of Henan has in fact decreed that the historic sanctuary dedicated to Our Lady of Mount Carmel will be blown up with dynamite; a complete ban on Catholics organizing their annual pilgrimage; a complete ban on any religious gathering or function being celebrated in the area. A statue of the Virgin, over one hundred years old, is destined to be destroyed along with 14 stations of The Way of the Cross which punctuate the entrance to the shrine…

Faithful from the diocese of Anyang have launched an appeal through AsiaNews: “We ask all our brothers and sisters in the Lord – they say – to pray for us and spread our message to all the faithful of the world”.

Once again we are reminded of how difficult it is for many of the world’s Catholics to freely practice their faith. Yet in the face o…

Off to Work Camp They Go!

Today my daughter will join 500 other teens for a week at the Diocesan Work Camp. They will be repairing homes of the needy in rural Orange, Virginia. They will give up their cell phones, iPods, and other electronic devices for an entire week. My older boys also participated in this program and found it to be extremely valuable. I think it is so important for young people to put a human face on the poor and needy. They need to see beyond the name of the charitable organization to which they donate money. They need to look into the eyes of those in need and see Christ. In addition to doing construction projects, the work campers will spend their evenings attending Mass, in Eucharistic Adoration, going to Confession, and listening to many inspiring speakers. Our bishop, Bishop Loverde, wrote a nice reflection on this project in this week’s Catholic Herald.

This is not always easy. The youth of today confront enormous pressures — pressures I could not even imagine when I try to compare t…

Catholic Carnival 124 is in full bloom!

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Sarah has done an absolutely amazing job with Catholic Carnival 124 this week. Using a garden motif she is presenting an absolutely gorgeous bouquet of posts. Go and take it all in!

Adult Religious Education Bleg

Amy Welborn is writing a study guide to accompany the new book on the Apostles written by Pope Benedict XVI. It sounds perfect for an adult education program. There will be twelve sessions, one for each Apostle, and each session study guide will include an opening prayer, questions for discussion, questions for reflection, and a closing prayer. This of course brings me back to my never-ending quest to establish meaningful adult education in our parish. While it would be wonderful to have our priests provide all the education we need, the truth of the matter is they do not have the time. So books with study guides, video programs, and audio programs that can be easily implemented as adult ed programs by volunteer catechists are essential.

This brings me to my question for you:

What pre-packaged adult education programs have you participated in that you thought were especially useful and enjoyable?

They need to inspire discussion but not be so nebulous that the program becomes the blind l…

Kitchen Madonna Apron Give Away

Kitchen Madonna, that undeniable queen of the kitchen apron, wants to give you one of her beautiful apron creations. Leave a comment on the post linked above and convince our dear KM that you deserve the lovely Stella Maris apron. You can see her full line of aprons here. I own the very beautiful and rather demure “Elisabetta Has Espresso with Eloise” but I think I will be needing to add something a bit more daring to my apron wardrobe. Elisabetta Digs the Daisies may be next on my list.

Driving Home a Few Points

I’ve been thinking about driving quite a bit lately. First of all, we have five drivers in the house and three vehicles. This means I am doing a bit of advanced logistical planning to make sure everyone has a way to summer school, soccer practice, work, piano lessons, Scouts, and social events. And I thought our pace of activities would slow a bit once school was out!

However, what really concerns me is having my three oldest children out and about in DC metro traffic. Anyone who has ever driven in this area knows that a great many of the drivers view traffic laws as mere suggestions and assume these rules do not apply to them. It is necessary to be ever vigilant and on guard. As an experienced driver, I find driving around here challenging. For the inexperienced it can be fatal. This is especially true when alcohol is involved. Once again our community has suffered its annual graduation party tragedy.

And so the defining image of the 2007 graduation season will be a white convertible V…


Does anyone else see a problem with this?!

Planned Parenthood Reports Record Abortions, High Profits

By Randy Hall Staff Writer/Editor
June 15, 2007

( - Despite a drop in donations and the first fall in income from clinics in its history, the nation's biggest abortion provider made a high profit last year, thanks to the American taxpayer. Pro-lifers want this to stop.

During its 2005-2006 fiscal year, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America performed a record 264,943 abortions, attained a high profit of $55.8 million and received record taxpayer funding of $305.3 million.

Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

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"I promise you in the excessive mercy of my Heart that my all-powerful love will grant to all those who receive Holy Communion on the First Fridays in nine consecutive months the grace of final perseverance; they shall not die in my disgrace, nor without receiving their sacraments. My divine Heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment" (Jesus to St. Margaret Mary).

Today is the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Did you know that in 2002, Pope John Paul II declared that on this feast day the Church would pray for the sanctification of priests?

Take some time today to reflect on the infinite love and mercy pouring forth from Christ's heart and repent for the times we have wounded this Sacred Heart with our sins. Then offer a special prayer for our priests that they may reflect Christ's boundless love through their holy lives and faithful service.

Conversion Story--Sort of

I have been asked a couple of times how I made the transition from casual cafeteria Catholic to a faithful-to-the-Magisterium Catholic. It is easy to say it was by the grace of God, which is true, but the question begs more of an answer than that. A few more details and the answer still seems incomplete. Browsing through the Catholic blogosphere, one finds numerous blogs written by converts. Et Tu by Jen, Happy Catholic by Julie D., and The Dawn Patrol by Dawn Eden are some of my favorites. A common characteristic in these blogs is the inclusion of a conversion story. I am truly in awe of converts because they had to make the very bold decisive move to become Catholic. As a cradle Catholic, my “conversion” has been much more subtle. Over many years I gradually moved from being a passive observer of faith to an active seeker of faith. I cannot point to any event that triggered a great epiphany. I can point to many little nudges that pushed me to fully embrace Catholicism.

I started out…

The Magisterium and Authority

I started to write a response in the comments of my previous post, and the response grew to such an extent I decided to just make it another post.

This is in response to Pat, who comments about the authority of the Magisterium:

Re faithfulness to the magisterium - personally I am faithful to God, my Saviour. The magisterium guides me in that faith but they do not own the truth. Thanks to the gifts of the Holy Spirit all baptized Catholics have the ability and responsibility to grow in the understanding of our faith and share that with the rest of the Body of Christ, which is the Church. We each do it a little differently - but that makes being a member of the Church interesting and life-giving.

Actually, Pat, I cannot agree with your characterization of the Magisterium. A little over a year ago I wrote a post "To Be Catholic means to Accept Church Authority." I am afraid the link to Alvin Kimel's piece in this post no longer works because he has changed his Pontifications b…

New Age Conference Sponsored by Old Age Nuns

David Hartline asks a very good question: Why are so many women’s religious orders sponsoring this “New Age” conference?

Here are a few excerpts from the program:

Erectus Consciousness with Kirkpatrick Sale
Erectus Consciousness is embodied in a love of nature, respect for all species, life in harmony, and spiritual connections to Earth. This session features a discussion of the tribes today that live with this perception, the movements today that operate with some of it, and the experience of it by many ordinary people. Participants will have the opportunity to discover how that 2-million-year-old consciousness—that deep identity with nature—still lives within them.

An Earth Theology – Earth Spirituality in Action with Jim Schenck
While all aspects of our lives need to become Earth Centered, it is clear that our spiritual beliefs have a way of coloring whatever we do. Our awe and wonder of Earth need to enhance our spiritual beliefs and support our actions rooted in Earth Wisdom. In this …

Find Mass even when you are on vacation

As the school year ends, many families are hitting the roads for summer vacations. I just want to remind you that vacation is not a reason to miss Mass. I thought I would link to one of my older posts to help you find Mass when you are traveling. Attending Mass when you are away from home can actually be part of the vacation adventure. Don't miss this opportunity.

In Preparation for The Feast of Corpus Christi

This Sunday we celebrate the Feast of Corpus Christi. The National Catholic Register jogged my memory of the important teaching document published by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops after their meeting this past November. Based on this document, the Register came up with this short quiz about the Eucharist. Take the Register quiz and see how well you understand the Sacrament of the Eucharist, the Source and Summit of our Faith. (Answers are at the Register link above)

1. What do we believe about Holy Communion?

2. In what three ways are we united to Christ in Communion?

3. Who may receive Holy Communion?

4. Should we ever refrain from receiving Holy Communion?

5. How can we prepare to receive Holy Communion more worthily?

6. May those who are not Catholic receive Holy Communion in the Catholic Church?

7. May Catholics receive Holy Communion in other Christian Churches?

Question #5 is interesting. The Register provides the following answer:

The bishops suggest practices for our…

Keeping Kids Catholic

I updated my Blogger template so you may notice a few subtle changes. I am neither skilled nor brave enough to mess with the template too much. I would like to call your attention to the new link on the sidebar that says Serial Posts. Last fall I did a series of posts on the book Keeping Your Kids Catholic by Bert Ghezzi. My readership has markedly increased since then so if you are one of my newer readers you may have missed it. I have gathered all the posts together under the one link Keeping Kids Catholic. This book has been one of my most helpful resources over my nearly 21 years of parenting. I hope you find the discussion of this book beneficial and enjoyable. If you would like to add comments to these older posts, feel free. It is never to late to joint the conversation.

Near occasion of sin in the garden?

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I’ve been meaning to write about my own attempts to subdue creation when I ran across Jen’s post for today about Brother Scorpion and Sister Mosquito.

I admire the simple beauty of his lovely Canticle of the Sun, and am really trying to find that sort of ecstatic joy in God's amazing creations that are all around me. And, indeed, some days I too feel overjoyed by simply noticing Brother Sun and Sister Moon.It really starts to break down, however, when I see Brother Scorpion on my kitchen floor. I know that these are God's amazing creations and all, but I am not at a level of spiritual maturity when I can appreciate God's creations of the stinger- and pincer-having variety in my house.

I have made references to my ongoing battle with the woodland creatures as I try to grow my perennial garden, but I would now say that I feel I am in an outright war. Unfortunately, my enemy is of the cute little furry ilk that makes folks go “Oh, how sweet!” so I am not getting a l…

New and Improved 4x4 Meme

Barb tagged me for this a couple of days ago.

Here are the rules: Share four things that were new to you in the past four years. Four things you learned or experienced or explored for the first time in the past four years. Then share four things you want to try new in the next four years.

1. Blogging! About eighteen months ago I was looking for a way to increase my freelance writing. I started out on a generic blog host that promised “loads of money” from advertising. Now that was a joke! In the process, I discovered the Catholic blogosphere. I switched to the more user friendly blogspot site and have been tapping away at my keyboard ever since. I’ve made lots of friends, grown in my faith, shared my faith, and even have gotten some leads on paying writing gigs. Definitely one of the highlights of the last four years.

2. I sent kids off to college. Beginning in the fall of 2004, my oldest child left the nest for college. The second one followed in the fall of 2006. Looks like the third …

Just a wee bit confused

Christopher Johnson at Midwest Conservative Journal, an Episcopal blog, offers this piece on the Rev. Dr. Ann Holmes Redding. I was going to comment, but I'm not sure what I can say that doesn't sound snide and snarky. So just read Christopher's post and then follow his link to the Washington State Diocesan publication for the whole article. It seems Rev. Redding is an Episcopal priest who claims to be both a faithful Episcopal Christian and a faithful Muslim.

“We Christians, in struggling to express the beauty and dignity of Jesus and the pattern of life he offers, describe him as the ‘only begotten son of God.’ That’s how wonderful he is to us. But that is not literal,” she continues. “When we say Jesus is the only begotten one, we are saying he’s unique in some way. Islam says the same thing. He’s the only human aside from Adam who is directly created by God, and he’s different from Adam because he has a human mother. So there’s agreement—this person is unique in hi…

A Clarion Call To Go To Daily Mass Today

I was feeling a bit lazy this morning and thought I might skip morning Mass. Then I read this.

An armed group gunned down and killed Fr Ragheed Ganni and three of his aides. The murder took place right after Sunday mass in front of the Church of the Holy Spirit in Mosul where Father Ragheed was parish priest.

Amy Welborn links to more information here.

Fr. Ragheed spoke these words in 2005:

"People could not believe what had happened. The terrorists might think they can kill our bodies or our spirit by frightening us, but, on Sundays, churches are always full. They may try to take our life, but the Eucharist gives it back."

"On December 7, the eve of the Immaculate Conception, a group of terrorist tried to destroy the Chaldean Bishop's Residence, which is near Our Lady of the Tigris Shrine, a place venerated by both Christians and Muslims."

"They placed explosives everywhere and a few minutes later blew the place up. This and fundamentalist violence against youn…