Pull up a chair in my domestic church and let's chat!

I have worn many labels (Not in any particular order): Catholic, Wife, Mom,Gramma, Doctor, Major, Soccer Mom, Military Wife, Professor, Fellow.

All of these filter my views of the world. I hope that like St. Monica, I can through prayer, words and example, lead my children and others to Faith.
"The important thing is that we do not let a single day go by in vain without putting it to good use for eternity"--Blessed Franz J├Ągerst├Ątter

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Get ready for Candlemas

Next Tuesday is Candlemas, or Feast of the Presentation. While this is not a Holy Day of Obligation, it is a wonderful Holy Day of Opportunity. Gather up devotional candles and take them to Mass on February 2nd so that they can be blessed. Read more here.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

March for Life

Real life has kept me away from the computer for a few days, but I've put up a brief report on the March for Life here. It was truly an inspiring experience to walk with hundreds of thousands of people in solidarity with the unborn and all of those who are vulnerable to the Culture of Death.

What struck me most was the sheer youth of the marchers. This throng of hundreds of thousands of marchers was predominantly people under the age of thirty. They were joyful, enthusiastic, and uncompromisingly committed to the sanctity of human life. The supporters of abortion took notice.

The Washington Post sent a pro-abortion columnist Robert McCarntney to cover the March for Life. His response is interesting. Here is a snippet, but do read his whole report. Then take heart and keep fighting for the Culture of Life.

I went to the March for Life rally Friday on the Mall expecting to write about its irrelevance. Isn't it quaint, I thought, that these abortion protesters show up each year on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, even though the decision still stands after 37 years. What's more, with a Democrat in the White House likely to appoint justices who support abortion rights, surely the Supreme Court isn't going to overturn Roe in the foreseeable future.

How wrong I was. The antiabortion movement feels it's gaining strength, even if it's not yet ready to predict ultimate triumph, and Roe supporters (including me) are justifiably nervous.

As always, we in Washington enjoy an up-close view of the health of various causes because of the city's role as the nation's most important setting for political demonstrations. In this case, I was especially struck by the large number of young people among the tens of thousands at the march. It suggests that the battle over abortion will endure for a long time to come.

"We are the pro-life generation," said signs carried by the crowd, about half its members appearing to be younger than 30. There were numerous large groups of teenagers, many bused in by Roman Catholic schools and youth groups. They and their adult leaders said the youths were taught from an early age to oppose abortion.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

National March for Life in D.C. just over a week away

Unfortunately, there is still a dire need for the National March for Life. The good news is there are hundreds of thousands of Americans committed to the sanctity of human life to meet this need. Will you be there on January 22, 2010? Find out more here.

Pope Benedict XVI calls for support of families and young people

Pope Benedict XVI received Gianni Alemanno, mayor of the City of Rome, Esterino montino, vice president of the Region of Lazio, Italy, and Nicola Zingaretti, president of the Province of Rome for the traditional exchange of New Year greetings. The Holy Father touched on several issues in his address to these local leaders, however, in light of my previous post, these words stood out:

"When educating on the great questions of affectivity and sexuality, which are so important for life, we must avoid showing adolescents and young people ways that tend to devalue these fundamental dimensions of human existence. To this end the Church calls for everyone to collaborate, especially those who work in schools, to educate the young to a lofty vision of human love and sexuality. Thus I invite everyone to understand that, in pronouncing her 'noes', the Church is really saying 'yes' to life, to love lived in the truth of the giving of self to the other, to the love that opens up to life and does not close itself in a narcissistic view of the couple".

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Symptoms of our Cultural Malaise

I've been teaching seventh grade CCD for several years now. In our parish, this is the Confirmation prep year. The students will be confirmed in the fall of their eighth grade year. Please, please, please, hit your knees and offer a prayer for all "tweens" and their families. What I hear every week reveals a great poison in our culture.

Recently, our class was discussing virtue. Specifically, we were covering the three theological virtues of faith, hope, and charity. In discussing the virtue of hope, I explained that hope is what allows us to trust God. Because we trust God, we are able to submit to His will when our own will would lead us in a different direction. Naturally, these students think of moral strictures regarding sexuality when they think of this topic. I explained that sexual activity is a gift from God and can only be properly expressed in the total self giving between a husband and a wife. This prompted one student to blurt out, "You mean my mother was wrong to have an affair?" She had seen her mother be unfaithful. All the television shows have characters being unfaithful in marriage. This looked very normal to her. As I listened to the students chat among themselves, I heard them speak of how often the boyfriend/girlfriend of their divorced parents moved in with them.

I've mentioned before that when we cover each of the seven sacraments, marriage is the hardest sacrament for these students to understand. Most of them have some experience with divorce, either with their own parents or with close relatives. The idea of marriage lasting a lifetime seems to be the anomaly rather than the norm.

We can work hard to make our marriages models of holiness for our own children as well as for the world around us. However, our culture is awash in false ideas of sexuality, marriage, and family. Think about this as you watch your favorite television program. How many characters display the virtue of chastity? How many characters honor their marriage vows? A heavy dose of prayer is an essential component of the cure for this cultural malady.

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.

Bishops call Catholics to action

Read about the latest call to action on health care reform by the USCCB.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Testing the Water

Life is always changing. As of today it looks like I will be dipping my toes back in the employment waters. Now that one child is launched and married, two are in college, and one is nearly half-way through high school I am looking for a little paid employment. I will be teaching human anatomy and physiology at the local community college. I've never had any desire to get back into clinical medicine. The lawyers and the insurance companies took all the fun out of that. If I think about it, what I really loved about practicing medicine was the teaching. Family physicians don't cure a lot. What we do is educate our patients on both preventive and therapeutic measures for their health. So I guess I will let my inner teacher come out. School starts in a week. I have a lot to do to get ready. Lesson plans, labs, paperwork, etc are waiting for me.

Sunday, January 03, 2010


Since it is 23-degrees right now and feels like 9-degrees with the wind chill, I am very interested in snuggling under the covers. In fact, hibernating until spring does not sound unreasonable. I must say that Michelle's post on bedwarmers had me laughing so much that I forgot how frozen I feel after walking the dog. Enjoy!

Was I too harsh?

Today I prepared for tomorrow's 7th grade Confirmation prep CCD class. This year I do not assign the students written home work. I do have them read the one or two chapters that we will cover in the next class. This usually amounts to five pages or less. After our introductory prayer, I give the students an open book quiz on what they were supposed to read. Even if they did not read the homework at home, the quiz is short enough that they could read the assigned reading while they do the quiz. As I prepared their semester grades I noted an interesting correlation. Those with the highest scores were those who reported weekly Mass attendance. Those with the lowest scores were those who report rarely if ever going to Mass. Because of this, I sent the following letter to the parents:

I will be giving your child a grade as a percentage. This represents his/her composite score for the weekly quizzes. Every week the students are assigned one or two chapters to read for the upcoming lesson. Upon arrival in class, they are given an open book quiz. This quiz is very straight forward. It comes directly from the assigned reading. Even if they did not read the assigned reading at home, the quiz is short enough that they can read it at the beginning of class and find the answers for the open book quiz. Some of the students have done extremely well. Extra credit is given based on Mass attendance and being able to answer questions about the liturgical calendar. (example: What was the feast day on Sunday? What color were the priest's vestments?) The high end of the class scores is 107% Unfortunately, not all students have done so well. Scores reach down to 60%. These low scores correlate with two factors. The first factor is lack of effort. Some students do not take their preparation for Confirmation seriously. The second factor that seems to correlate with these low scores is failure to attend Mass regularly. This also contributes to the first factor. If Mass is not a priority, then it is difficult for students to see the relevance of Confirmation.

Below you will find the Precepts of the Catholic Church as written in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. These are the bare minimum requirements put forth by the Church for Catholics in good standing. Please note that the very first precept of the Church is to attend Mass every Sunday and Holy Day of Obligation. As we begin a new calendar year, perhaps adherence to this commandment of the Church would be a good New Year's resolution.

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact me.

1 The first precept ("You shall attend Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation and rest from servile labor") requires the faithful to sanctify the day commemorating the Resurrection of the Lord as well as the principal liturgical feasts honoring the mysteries of the Lord, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the saints; in the first place, by participating in the Eucharist

2 The second precept ("You shall confess your sins at least once a year.") ensures preparation for the Eucharist by the reception of the sacrament of reconciliation, which continues Baptism's work of conversion and forgiveness.

3 The third precept ("You shall receive the sacrament of the Eucharist at least during the Easter season.") guarantees as a minimum the reception of the Lord's Body and Blood in connection with the Paschal feasts, the origin and center of the Christian liturgy.

4 The fourth precept ("You shall observe the days of fasting and abstinence established by the Church") ensures the times of ascesis and penance which prepare us for the liturgical feasts and help us acquire mastery over our instincts and freedom of heart.

5 The fifth precept ("You shall help to provide for the needs of the Church") means that the faithful are obliged to assist with the material needs of the Church, each according to his own ability. The faithful also have the duty of providing for the material needs of the Church, each according to his abilities.

Catechism of the Catholic Church, #2041-2043

Now I am wondering if I was too harsh. I've tried to be supportive. I send home notes and emails with suggestions for bringing the faith into the home. My introductory letter let them know that parents are the primary catechists and I am there to assist their efforts. I maintain a web site with lesson summaries and reading assignments. I guess I just felt the need to be a little more direct. We shall see if our DRE gets any phone calls.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Black-eyed peas? Cabbage? Other?

Just curious. What do you eat on New Years Day? I grew up eating black-eyed peas and figured that was the universal food to start the New Year. Then the Air Force moved us to Ohio and everyone was fixing cabbage. I am back in black-eyed pea country again. I cooked them with the ham bone from our Christmas dinner, some onion, salt, pepper, thyme, and crushed red pepper. If I had a few fresh jalepenos, I would have thrown that in too. Served them over rice with some fresh homemade cornbread. It was true comfort food. What about you?


I just published a quick review of Epiphany over at the Examiner. During my review for this article, I learned that this feast incorporates not only the arrival of the Magi but the Baptism of Jesus and the Wedding Feast at Cana as well. It is a celebration of the revelation of Christ, not just the arrival of the Three Kings.