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Showing posts from January, 2008

Adult Education Spreading its Wings

Monday night I held my third parent/child CCD class. This is my attempt to get the parents more actively involved in their child’s religious education as well as to inspire them to seek out a little adult education as well. Parent attendance is completely voluntary. I usually get a little anxious before these sessions, wondering if anyone will show up. Monday night was no different. After all, the parents had already been to two of these classes. What if they decided it just isn’t worth their time? And to top it off, the public schools were out for a teacher work-day on Monday so CCD attendance was likely to be low. I just pushed these anxieties aside and figured the Holy Spirit would take care of getting folks to attend. I just needed to prepare my presentation.

The bell rang for class to begin and I had three parents and three students out of my class of sixteen students. I put on a smile and told my brave souls that we were going to wait five minutes before starting so any straggle…

New Arrival

If blogging over the next few weeks becomes rather sparse, blame it on Athena.

She arrived yesterday. She is a six-month-old Labrador-mix puppy that we obtained from the county animal shelter. She had been a gift to a couple who was expecting a baby and once the baby arrived, there was no time for an energetic pup so they gave her to the shelter. Energetic may be an understatement! The next few weeks we will be engaged in some intensive puppy training so I may not get to the blogging as much as ususal. I feel like I did when I had a new baby. Whenever she is quiet, I scramble around to get things done. If you are getting a puppy, I highly recommend the book Puppies for Dummies by Sarah Hodgson. You can read it cover to cover, but I think it is most helpful as a handy reference for questions that pop up.

From the pulpit: Parents are the Primary Educators of their Children

Yesterday marked the beginning of Catholic Schools Week. At Mass we had little plaid-skirted girls and shirt-and-tie boys serving as greeters, serving as readers, and bringing up the offertory gifts. Anyone who has read my blog for any length of time knows I have a guarded approach to Catholic schools. In theory they can be wonderfully Catholic environments that enhance the Catholic culture of the entire parish. In practice, they can become elite academies with very little connection to the parish other than a monetary pipeline. Part of me always cringes when Catholic Schools Week rolls around and much fanfare is given to these parents who are sacrificing so much to send their children to Catholic Schools. Where are the accolades for our CCD parents and home school parents who are also sacrificing and diligently passing on the faith to their children?

So I was very grateful to hear our pastor give the CCD parents and home school parents some credit during his homily. He emphasized that…

The Repentent Sinner as a Sign of Hope

I was preparing for our The Apostles study group and was struck by Pope Benedict’s reflection on the Apostle Matthew:

A first fact strikes one based on these references: Jesus does not exclude anyone from his friendship. Indeed, precisely while he is at table in the home of Matthew-Levi, in response to those who expressed shock at the fact he associated with people who had so little to recommend them, he made the important statement: “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”

The Good news of the Gospel consists precisely of this: offering God’s grace to the sinner!

We are all sinners yet each of us is offered God’s grace. There is no sin from which we cannot repent and be forgiven. Just like the woman who committed adultery, Jesus wants to tell each of us, “Your sins are forgiven. Go and sin no more.”

The annals of the saints are filled with those who started out life in a much less than holy manner yet found …

2008 March For Life

The Washington DC March for Life was an uplifting and energizing experience for my daughter. She was overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of the event. The youth Mass and pro-life rally that preceded the March was amazing. They arrived three hours before the start of the Mass. It is a good thing too. By two hours prior to the start of the Mass the Verizon Center was filled to its 20,000 capacity and youth were being diverted to other local churches for Mass. She also had never seen so many Cardinals, bishops, priests, and seminarians in one place. It made quite an impression.

Her group was in the middle of the March. She said she couldn’t see either the beginning or the end of the marchers. There were just waves and waves of people.

The weather cooperated. It didn’t get near as cold as predicted and other than a short drizzle, no precipitation. The forecast had called for snow and sleet. About the time the March was ending my son told me to look outside. There was a beautiful rainbow arc…

National March for Life Today

Once again we must mark the infamous Roe v Wade Supreme Court decision. Please keep the marchers in your prayers. My daughter will be among the thousands of young people who are standing up for the vulnerable who cannot stand up for themselves. We must sacrifice and pray that our culture chooses life and eschews the culture of death.

Watch live feed from the March beginning at 11:00 EST.

It is Christ on the Cross--Not the MDG

Pray hard for our Episcopal brethren. I wrote here about the Episcopal Church transforming itself into the Church of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. The transformation looked like it had progressed in November when this picture was taken at the Michigan Episcopal Convention:

Normally, I just patiently observe these innovations and pray the Chittister-McBrien crowd never become so influential in the American Catholic hierarchy that we follow the same path. However, now the Episcopalians have gone too far. The official web site of the Episcopal Church is now offering a Lenten Liturgy: Stations of the Millennium Development Goals When they parody one of my most treasured Catholic devotions and reduce it to the worst of peace and justice drivel I feel physically ill.

I truly love to pray the Stations of the Cross. I share Christ’s journey to Calvary. I reflect on His suffering. I acknowledge my sinfulness and am humbled He would endure such agony out of love for me and f…

A Place to Pray for the Jesuits

Karen Hall has started a new Jesuit-themed blog, Some Wear Clerics.

my posts here will be geared to letting those same wise and holy Jesuits know that we know they are wise and holy, and we further know what they are enduring at the hands of not only a hostile world (Satan's fellow travelers) and sometimes at the hands of their more benighted brethren (Satan's useful idiots). But most importantly, that we recognize them as the ecclesial equivalent of The Resistance in a world that smacks of Vichy and we wish to hold them together, "body and soul." To them I say: you are cradled in more prayers than you know. There is a traffic jam in heaven of near-herniated Guardian Angels ferrying our prayers on your behalf, and you are surrounded by that great, invisible, cloud of saints who will bear you up when things look bleak and hopeless. We're counting on you and your sacrifice -- insignificant or unheralded as it may seem today -- to one day yield the Society for which…

Is something going on in Elmhurst, IL?

About a year ago I published this post about Mary Foley and Mary Queen of Heaven Catholic Church in Elmhurst, IL. In the last twenty-four hours it has become the most frequent post leading people to my blog. It is the second most common entry page for my blog, ranking behind only my home page. This traffic is being driven by people googling "Mary Foley Queen of Heaven Elmhurst IL". I can't find any news on the internet so can anyone enlighten me about what is going on?

Spread the Love Award

Ebeth at A Catholic Mum Climbing the Pillars has honored me with the Spread the Love Award. I am flattered! Ebeth is very right that the Catholic blogosphere has created a supportive community of Catholics that I truly cherish. Ebeth included Sarah and Jackie in her circle of love. I would also include them among my honorees as well. However, I would also like to call attention to Michelle, Barb, Kitchen Madonna, Jen, and Rosemary for their loving service to Catholic evangelization via their blogs. God Bless you all.

Did You Hear a Pro-Life Homily Today?

What did you hear in Mass today? I heard a courageous priest speak the truth. He began with John the Baptist’s words from today’s Gospel: Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the World. John was ecstatic to be able to publicly proclaim those words. Are we equally enthusiastic about publicly proclaiming the message of Christ?

Tuesday, we will once again mark the anniversary of Roe v Wade. Living as I do in the Virginia suburbs of Washington D.C., the March for Life is a local event. Father challenged us to avoid complacency about the pro-life cause. We cannot grow accustomed to the culture of death in our society any more than we could grow accustomed to racial discrimination in our society. We cannot wearily sigh and lament the evil of abortion. We must energetically and publicly oppose abortion. We must ardently pray and sacrifice for the conversion of our culture to a culture of life. Like John the Baptist, we must leap at the opportunity to point out the presence of C…

Remember the Catechumens and Candidates in Your Prayers

Dave Hartline at the Catholic Report points us to this news. Allen Hunt, a former United Methodist Minister and pastor of an Atlanta Mega Church has begun his journey across the Tiber. Please take a look at Mr. Hunt’s blog. He made this announcement on January 14 and the responses have not been terribly supportive. The very first comment was:

So this means you're no longer a Christian, right?

As we move closer to Easter, there are probably thousands of Catechumens and Candidates around the world preparing to enter the Church. Like Mr. Hunt, many of them are doing so at great personal sacrifice. Their witness reminds us cradle Catholics of the great treasure we often take for granted. May God bless Mr. Hunt and all those who are coming home to Rome.

The Wisdom of the Pope Applied to Elections

It is old news that “leftist” factions at La Sapienza University in Rome created such a hostile environment that Pope Benedict XVI canceled his appearance there. He was to have given a speech marking the inauguration of the new school year. The protesters claimed this pope was “anti-science” and pointed to a speech he gave as Cardinal Ratzinger that addressed the trial of Galileo. It is now known that the protesters were misquoting the Pope in his previous speech. Reading the words of the speech the Pope was to have given, it is clear this pontiff is definitely not anti-science. It is a lengthy treatise, but it is definitely a worthy investment of time and brain cells to carefully read it all.

I would like to draw your attention to one passage. As our American election season heats up, these words should be in every candidate’s and every voter’s mind:

Insofar as the reasonable mechanisms are concerned he notes that the issue cannot be reduced to a mere struggle for who gets more votes b…

Not All Faithful Catholics Attend Catholic Schools

Much like the debate on Attachment Parenting, the discussion of Catholic school vs. public school vs. home school can hit some nerves. On his blog, Rich Leonardi laments the rising tuition at Catholic schools and how it is making a Catholic education unaffordable for so many families. One response was from a well-meaning gentleman named John who described the significant sacrifices he and his family made in order to afford the tuition for their five children. While his story is admirable I detected an underlying message of “If you are really Catholic, you will make the sacrifices.” I don’t know that John was really trying to send that message but a following anonymous poster certainly was:

If you can drive demand you should be able to lower cost. Applying some praise to the "Johns" of the world and some Catholic guilt to the parents sending kids to the public schools is certainly in bounds.

Or how about this response:

On the margins cases exist where the public school is the b…

Carnival 155 cries out to YOU!

Carnival 155 arrives like "Voices in the Wilderness!" There is something for everyone. Many thanks to DeoOmnisGloria for hosting. Let me also thank Christus Vincit for introducing me to Septuagesima. While this season has been dropped from the liturgical calendar after Vatican II, it is still part of the Extraordinary Form Liturgy. It is a time to get ready for Lent. What a good idea! Preparation is key to a meaningful Lent. Make sure you also read What Price Grace? from Eastward, Catholic Soldier. I've been trying to teach my 7th grade CCD class about Grace. It is a topic with layers and layers of understanding. This post offers some good words for reflection.

More Wisdom from Fr. Robert Araujo, SJ

Fr. Robert Araujo once again bowls me over with his wisdom. His post at Mirror of Justice offers a true challenge in Christian living for each of us:

But there is yet another story that I would like to relate today involving our own country, the United States. We are troubled by a war, by poverty, by white collar and conventional crime, by infidelity, by drugs, by terrorism, and by many other problems. To borrow from Michael P.’s question: “will someone please tell us what the… bishops of the Catholic Church—my Church, our Church—were doing during” in these times? But this question should not be restricted to the successors of the Apostles since it involves all of us. Archbishop Burke’s formulation of the question seems more appropriate to me: how can the people of our beloved country permit such horrible evils to happen at all or to go on for so long? Again I will suggest that people tend to do what they can. Individual bishops, individual dioceses, individual parishes, individual pri…

Preparing for a Merciful Lent

Yesterday, with the Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord, we officially closed out the Christmas Season. However, we will not have much time to catch our breath before the liturgical season of Lent is upon us. Ash Wednesday is February 6. This is the earliest start of Lent since 1856. Are you ready?

Now many use Lent as a vehicle to jump start their flagging New Year’s weight loss resolutions. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with this if the focus is on cultivating the virtue self-control and banishing the vice of gluttony. However, if the goal is really to look good in our Easter finery, this strategy seems a bit spiritually lacking. Feel free to lose weight during Lent, but why not also try on some of these Lenten goals for size:

The Corporal Works of Mercy

* Feed the hungry
* Give drink to the thirsty
* Clothe the naked
* Shelter the homeless
* Visit the sick
* Visit the imprisoned
* Bury the dead

The Spiritual Works of Mercy

* Admonish the sinner
* Instruct the ignorant
* …

Let Her Eat a Decorated-by-Mom Birthday Cake!

Darling Daughter is having some friends over this evening to celebrate her eighteenth birthday. We had our family celebration a few days ago on her actual birthday. We didn’t have a real birthday cake then. I just made a pan of brownies and we celebrated with brownie sundaes. I was planning on the real birthday cake this evening. By yesterday, however, I was still struggling to get all the Christmas decorations stowed away so I figured I would just buy an ice cream cake from the nearby Cold Stone Creamery. When my daughter heard my plans, her demeanor was a bit crestfallen, but she didn’t complain.

I started decorating cakes when my oldest was two years old and my second son was six months old. At that time both my husband and I were in the Air Force and we had just been stationed at two different bases. I was in Georgia and he was in Florida. I had the kids and after a couple of months, knew that I needed to make some time for just me. I splurged on a sitter once a week for about six …

Permission for Catholic Moms to Relax a Little.

In my announcement of Catholic Carnival 154, I highlighted this post at Perfect Joy.

My second observation is this: everyone has a 'full plate': All have a litany of family and extended relations, duties, and activities: enough to choke a horse. The number one question discussed in the 'vortex' is where does God fit in with all these elements of daily life?

The answer: God doesn't fit on the plate - God is the plate. Or to state it more accurately: our relationship with God underlies and affects every aspects of our life. Hence, a small but consistent amount of time and attention devoted to Christian formation works wondrous results.

We moms need to hear this. We are instruments in God’s hands and channels of His Grace. However, it is still His plan. We are called to cooperate with God and give our children the religious formation that allows them to hear His call. But we do not shoulder the burden of completely shaping them. Of course you want to be the perfect mothe…

Happy Birthday Elvis......

.....and also to my darling daughter. I can't believe you are all grown up. It seems like yesterday that you were a baby in my arms. Now you are a young woman preparing to step out into the world. Just remember that flying solo doesn't mean flying alone. God will always be by your side. Blessed Mother and the Communion of Saints are ready to intercede on your behalf. My prayers for you will be perpetually lifted towards Heaven. So stride forward with confidence, but remember you always have a safe haven at home.

Epiphany Blessings To All!

Holy Days of Opportunity

Gerald at The Cafeteria is Closed has news from California. It seems that Cardinal Mahoney, et al, decided that Tuesdays are too close to Sunday and declared that January 1st, 2008, was not a Holy Day of Obligation. Arrgh!!!!!

In light of my discussion below about the importance of living the liturgical calendar, I view this as an extremely ill advised decision. What is the pastoral message that is being sent by this move? It says all your parties, football games, and hangover recoveries are more important than meeting and receiving Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist. It says that your faith is something extraneous to everyday life and can be set aside when it is inconvenient.

The truth is our faith should be front and center. Everyday life is supposed to revolve around our faith, not the other way around. Sure it would be great if everyone spontaneously felt called to Mass on January 1st. And the good news is that many people in California did attend Mass on the Solemnity of Mary even tho…


Right after Christmas I traveled to the Ft. Lauderdale area for a few days of sun and soccer. (My compliments to the nice folks at St. Gregory’s for a lovely Mass Saturday evening.) On the flight down I read about the Roomba in the airline magazine. Now I have had a Roomba for about four years. I love it. It does an amazing job vacuuming. I primarily use it in the kitchen. I set Rosie loose and by the time I finish reading and writing my blogs, my kitchen floor looks great. When she is done, she plugs herself back into her charger. I have the mid-level model but you can get some top-of-the-line versions with amazing bells and whistles. Did you notice I called my Roomba “Rosie”? According to the magazine article, fully two-thirds of all Roomba owners have named their Roombas. For those of us who grew up with the Jetsons, Rosie seems like a logical choice. Any other Roomba users out there? I’d love to know what you call yours.

A Catechetical Challenge for 2008

Here is an interesting snippet of a Catholic World Report interview with Amy Welborn:

The problem is that when you look at Catholic history, the faith has never been passed on predominantly in classroom situations. The faith has been passed on in families and in parishes and in communities. You can have really nice catechetical materials in which you have kids learn about a saint each week and you introduce them to various devotions, but if all of that is absent from parish life, and if all of that is absent from the life of Catholics, which it is for the most part…It's something that any teacher of, particularly, the humanities can sympathize with. Think about the poor teacher trying to teach Shakespeare or Chaucer to kids who go home and are on the Internet for four hours and then are playing video games and doing all kinds of other things. It's not just a religious ed problem; it's a cultural problem. What we are trying to transmit in a classroom setting isn't reinfo…