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

Monday, October 24, 2011

Kind of Pathetic

I was probably not the model of Christian charity last night when I was on the phone with our credit card company. Someone had obtained our credit card number and used it to make online purchases. USAA was amazingly helpful as always. Within hours they had contacted us and our credit card was disabled. However, it is still a monstrous inconvenience to be without a credit card for a few days and to have to re-establish the recurring charges that I have set up. I did not have kind thoughts about the thief who was inflicting this stress upon me.

But then I looked at the fraudulent charges. The first thing he did was to join I bet his profile had a few lies in it. The second purchase was $180 in flowers from That is just plain sad. Someone has to be pretty lonely for them to steal a credit card number just so they can join an online dating service and send flowers to potential mate(s). I guess now mixed in with my sense of outrage is a bit of pity.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Seeing blessings in 'Impossible Situations"

I am on day four of my novena to St. Jude. This is today's reflection from the email.

"Take up your cross and follow me..."
Sometimes Jesus asks us to embrace the suffering and pain that we endure. Sometimes God want's us to carry the cross like Christ did for a greater good in our lives.
Despite this suffering, God want's to bless us. He wants to bless us abundantly.
Today let's pray that in the midst of our 'impossible' situations that we pray for in this novena, that we can still see God's blessings in our lives.

Go to Mass. Offer it up.

I have mentioned before that this is one of my most popular posts. People do a Google search for "travel dispensation for Mass" and find it. I suspect some are sorely disappointed when they read in the first sentence that there is no such thing as a "travel dispensation".

I though about this yesterday when I spoke with my son who is stationed in Afghanistan. We are blessed that he is able to phone us regularly. He had not phoned in a while so I knew he had been out and about in the countryside. He mentioned that when he did get to another base he found they were having Mass and attended. Just as at his primary base, the priest was Polish. It didn't matter. It was the Mass.

So if my son can make it a point to find Mass in the wilds of Afghanistan, I can't imagine that it would be that difficult to find Mass here in the United States. The instructions on doing so are in the first link. And if you find going to Mass a little inconvenient this weekend because you have soccer games, work, relatives visiting, or some other competing activity, go anyway. Offer it up. Pray for all the soldiers who serve in war torn areas and struggle to find Mass. Pray for all the priests who serve these soldiers. And if you need a special intention, pray for the cadre of Polish priest who have offered spiritual support to my son during his deployment. I will be forever in their debt.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

That's my girl!

That's my daughter at the 27 second mark. She is sitting and sketching at the base of Willy's statue.

Pray a Novena with Me!

A novena is nine days of prayer, usually dedicated to a specific intention or to the intercession of a specific saint. It is based on the nine days between the Ascension and Pentecost that Blessed Mother and the Apostles spent in prayer.

Starting today, I am joining over 5,000 Catholics to pray the St. Jude Novena!

I’m looking forward to the answered prayers from this amazing saint! With so many faithful Catholics around the world praying this novena, I thought you’d like to join too!

Do you have any ‘impossible causes’ to pray for?

You can sign up for handy email reminders to get the the novena prayers here: St. Jude Novena

I love this "pray more novenas" site. They start a new novena and then email me the prayers each day. It is a wonderful reminder and helps me stick to my commitment to pray. It is also very supportive to know that thousands of other Catholics are praying right along beside me. Click on one of the above links or on the badge in my sidebar and join me in offering this and future novenas.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

When Catholics and non-Catholics mingle

Thanksgiving and Christmas are approaching. This means many Catholic families will be intermingling with their Protestant relatives. So, what do you do on Sunday? If you visit your Protestant aunt's church, what do you do about "communion"?

Fr. Z offers a great deal of commentary here as he refutes an article in US Catholic, a less than orthodox publication. The bottom line is canon 844:

“Catholic ministers may licitly administer the sacraments to Catholic members of the Christian faithful only and, likewise, the latter may licitly receive the sacraments only from Catholic ministers.”
“Whenever necessity requires or a genuine spiritual advantage commends it, and provided the danger of error or indifferentism is avoided, Christ’s faithful for whom it is physically or morally impossible to approach a Catholic minister, may lawfully receive the sacraments of penance, the Eucharist and anointing of the sick from non-Catholic ministers in whose Churches these sacraments are valid.”
Protestant sects do not have valid sacraments. Canon 844 cannot be used to justify receiving communion from Lutherans, Methodists, Episcopalians, etc. The non-Catholic Churches that do have valid sacraments are the Eastern Orthodox Churches, the Polish National Catholic Church, and the pre-Calcedonian Churches.

Also, attending the liturgy of a Protestant sect cannot fulfill a Catholic's Sunday obligation to attend Mass. Refusing to attend Protestant services can create family tensions. However, it is not unreasonable to expect our Protestant family and friends to respect our Catholic faith. Perhaps you can attend Saturday evening Mass and then spend Sunday morning at the Protestant liturgy (refraining from taking communion as described above). Or perhaps you can attend Mass while the others attend their services and then meet for brunch.

Our Protestant relatives are welcome to attend Mass, but just as we do not receive communion in their churches, they should not receive the Eucharist at Mass. No one, Catholic or Protestant, should receive the Eucharist unless he is in a state of grace and fully united to the Catholic Church. Such unity is impossible for Protestants.

It is tempting to pretend there are no differences for the sake of peace in the family. However, we miss a chance to evangelize when we fail to live up to the teaching of the Church. We also risk confusing children in the family. The Catholic Church is not just one of many Churches. It is the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. There are elements of holiness in many of the Protestant sects, but only the Catholic Church contains the fullness of truth. By insisting that all Catholics attend Mass on Sunday (or Saturday evening) and refusing to engage in "cross-communion" we show by our actions what we truly believe.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Plug for speaking opportunities

Wanted to highlight the intro to my guest column for the HLI Newsletter:

When we first envisioned and created HLI America's Fellows program Dr. Denise Hunnell was the first person I contacted due to her medical and bioethical expertise. She's been a great addition to the HLI America family. Be sure to read the rest of her work on the

Truth and Charity Forum. And if you'd like to have Denise (or any of the other members of the HLI America team) speak at your parish or organization email us at God's blessing to you and yours.

Arland K. Nichols

National Director
I have a presentation entitled "10 questions about health care ethics that every Catholic should be able to answer" that is ready to go. Especially if you are within a day's drive of the Washington DC area, I would love to speak to your group.

When "Preventive Care" causes diseases instead of preventing them...

My latest work for HLI America is up.

Every package of either oral or injectable contraceptives includes a warning that they do not protect against sexually transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDS. This warning may need to be amended: A study published in the October 4 issue of The Lancet Infectious Diseases found that use of a hormonal contraceptive doubles the risk of acquiring HIV/AIDS.

Continue reading here.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Do Not Ask Amy!!!

Why do I do it? Every time I read an advice column in the Washington Post I find myself fuming. I should just turn the page and never read another word. A couple of weeks ago Carolyn Hax suggested a woman let her pregnant teenage niece come live with her and her three young children. Being around those children should certainly convince the niece to have an abortion. Today, Ask Amy basically tells a woman to get up off her backside and find a job. Staying at home with kids does not contribute enough to the family.

My husband and I have been married for 12 years. He has always worked, and I’ve always been a dedicated homemaker. I consider this my “job.”
Recently my husband was laid off, and he accepted another position that pays significantly less. Now that my sons are in middle school, my husband wants me to consider working part time, because I “have so much free time during the day.”
I find this extremely disrespectful. I feel like he thinks I just lounge around all day.
How can we compromise on this issue, and how can I show him the importance of everything that I do? -- Already Employed Wife

DEAR WIFE: One way to compromise would be for you to get a part-time job to help support your family.

Excuse me. Exactly how much money do you think this woman is going to make at a part-time job? Nothing in her letter indicates they are not putting food on the table or a roof over their heads. What Amy should have recommended is that the husband and wife sit down and discuss the benefits and burdens of her taking on employment outside the home. How does the husband see this extra income being used?

Things to consider:
There are costs associated with working. The increased spending power of a second income is grossly overestimated. Families with two working parents eat out more. They buy more convenience foods which are more expensive. A woman's wardrobe for work is more expensive. If both parents are working you tend to pay for household services like housekeepers, dry cleaners, laundry, and yard work because you are both too tired to take care of them.

Will the wife's job compromise her job as a mother if she works outside the home? The prime time for teens and tweens to get into trouble is when they are unsupervised after school. They are too old for daycare and babysitters often don't exert much control over their behavior. The first hour after children get home from school is golden. That is when you can look at their faces and see how their day went. The look in their eyes tells you if there is something bothering them. Shuttling them around to after school activities is a window into their world that you lose if you are paying someone else to drive them.

With increased costs and possibly increased taxes, will the extra income be worth the burdens? The couple should discuss ways to cut expenses that might be equivalent to what the wife would make in a part-time job. Perhaps, the husband is just feeling envious that his wife gets to keep doing the job she loves--being a stay-at-home-mom --and he has to take a downgraded less satisfying position. This may be more about his professional unhappiness than about the family's need for more income.

Rather than belittling the work of being a wife and mother and telling this woman to go get a job, Amy should have recommended the couple sit down and find out what each thought the family would gain and what it would lose if the wife got a job.

It really makes one wonder what kind of family life these advice columnists have when they think staying at home with kids is insignificant and living with children is a good argument for abortion.