Saturday, February 27, 2010

Boston Catholic Women's Conference








So we arrived in our stretch limo. That was wicked cool. We pulled in along side all the school buses. One of the volunteer guides' eyes popped out of her head, and she said, "I like your style."

We didn't like our seats, however. We were in the last seats in the cathedral. Not only couldn't we see very well, but we couldn't hear. Yes, there were speakers, but they weren't loud enough. There were large screens projecting the speakers, but they were all up front, also. One we couldn't see at all and the other was obscured by columns. :-(

The first speaker was Leah Darrow. She was good; but not what I expected. She told the story of her modeling career and the religious experience she had that brought her back to her faith. But she represents a line of fashion known as Pure Fashion, so I was expecting a fashion show. I pictured models modeling clothes down a run way with funky music rocking. I was a little disappointed.

The next speaker was Patti Mansfield. The charismatic movement started with Patti and her college friends. She presently is involved with the charismatic movement in New Orleans. Hence, I was looking forward to a rousing, hand waving, spirit slaying, speaking in tongues, Talk. She was OK.

Lunch was next on the agenda. I also went to Confession and Adoration. I saw people I haven't seen in awhile. Good experiences.

Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle was the next speaker. I guess she's well known from EWTN. She's the moderator of some Mother's show. I had never heard of her. I wish I could have told you more, but I'm ashamed to say, I fell asleep. When I woke up she was telling stories. They were cute little stories.

Lastly, was Sister Olga of the Eucharist. She is from Iraq and told a heart wrenching tale of her vocation. She was opposed by her parents, bishop, the odds. But God was with her and she is now working as the Catholic Chaplain at Boston University. She is what you call a diocesan hermit. She was terrific--wicked cool.

It was all in all a good day. But next time, I'm not ordering with the parish. There was no advantage to that. The ticket prices were all the same, no matter how many you order, by parish or not. We waited until the last minute because we wanted all the women of the parish to have a chance to come. Hence, we got the worse seats.

But thank be to God, our limo was waiting to take us home. Somehow, although all ten of us fit in the back, coming to the Conference, there was no room for me in the back. :-/ So I rode shot gun.

I give thanks to You, My Love. It was a good day, and may I be able to put into practice the fruits that I gleaned from these spiritual offerings. Likewise, all my friends. Ditto, all the other women, there. You are too good. Praise to You, Lord Jesus Christ.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Kim Yu Na

Congratulations to Kim Yu Na. South Koreans have every right to be proud of her. I am happy she was able to win a gold medal in the Olympics and do her country proud.

It is said that as a child she thought Olympic champions were made in heaven. They were just placed here on earth. After winning the gold medal in figure skating, she learned that Olympic champions are made here on earth. Yes, they earn their gold through hard work.

However, don't forget that we were all made to be divine. We are all special. Each one of us is a gift for the other. We don't have to earn our uniqueness; it's God given. We are all made in heaven.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Freedom

In preparing a lesson plan for Changhun, I remembered something he said previously, that I've always intended to revisit. We were discussing clothing. Changhun said he was surprised that in a free country, we have dress codes for certain jobs and schools.

Well, we're discussing "freedom," tomorrow. I wish I could explain that complying with God's Will is freedom. That it is freedom from worldly desires that is freeing. But I know Haeyeun won't tolerate much talk about God and religion. So I can't use that angle.

I plan to partner off to brainstorm ideas, to get him started. Changhun and Haeyeun can jibber jabber in Korean and English. After a bit, we'll have a round table discussion and try to define "Freedom."

It's not that easy. I googled "Freedom" and read many opinions. One thing freedom isn't, is the right to do whatever whim enters your head. This was considered by many as "License." Freedom isn't a license to do whatever. Freedom means choosing responsibly. You can't have the freedom to hurt others, never mind kill them, as the pro-abortion people propose. So how many define freedom is really "license."

After awhile, I saw that "Freedom" needed to be defined according to societal freedom, personal freedom, and freedom within. "Freedom within" is interesting. Your mind can be free inside prison. No one can get inside you. Then the opposite, you can be very free (not incarcerated) and indulging yourself in whatever selfish wish you desire, and find yourself isolated and barren.

What good is freedom, if you've made choices that have alienated those you love?
As the song "Bobby McGee" says, "Freedom's just another word, for nothing left to lose..."
And the song "Desperado" ..."And freedom, ohh freedom.
Well that's just some people talking.
Your prison is walking through this world all alone."

How will Changhun define "Freedom?'

...to be continued.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Stylin

I wish I were a fly on the wall, when my pastor gets the bill.

You see, we're a group of 10 women going to the Boston Catholic Women's Conference. Last year, we were 18 women. We also had Fr. Dave, as pastor. He took up a second collection and that paid for a bus for us. Of course, we, being only 18 ladies, couldn't fill a 40 seat bus, so we invited all the area churches to ride with us. Great public relations, no?

This year we have a new pastor, who doesn't "do" second collections. :-/

But he said he'd pay for our transportation. I feel badly for the other churches who thought they could ride along with us. But it's out of my hands. So, since the pastor said he'd pay for us 10, I priced different modes of transportation.

Forget it! Almost $800 for a bus. A van or small bus was just as ridiculous. We even called a limo...guess what? We found a very, very, helpful, savvy customer service rep. This lady explained to us why buses and vans and taxis and limos, were so expensive. It was the down time. The drivers had to wait all day for us. So she suggested that we hire two limo trips, one way each. That way, we get a ride in. The driver goes home. At the end of the day, a new limo and driver picks us up and brings us back.

This was the most cost efficient at $ 125 each way.

But imagine the look on the pastor's face when he reads...

"You ladies took a stretch limo to the Conference!!!"

;-D

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Music from the Inside


You wouldn't believe it. Nobody will believe it. But I had the most wonderful experience at a concert, today. And it was inside a prison. Think Johnny Cash inside Folsom Prison. Only think of no celebrities, only prisoners. And they were great!

It was a concert to raise money for the victims of the earthquake in Haiti. How could the inmates raise money? Some of them have jobs. You know like, laundry and cooking. The pay starts at $ .50 an hour and is maxed out at $ 2.00. The inmates use the money to buy personal products mostly: their own shampoo (not prison issue), things like that. So the concert was to raise funds from the inmates, not we outsiders.

I expected the result to be $ 50, at the most.

$ 3000.

WOWZA!

The auditorium was packed. They had 12 bands scheduled to perform two songs each, in two hours. They didn't make it. We only had time for ten bands. That's too bad because every single band was excellent.

We had a couple of Latino bands, rock & roll, hip hop, jazz, an Asian band, Gospel, rhythm & blues, and rap. I could actually understand some of the rap. By the end of the time, I could see why the kids like rap. It's all about the beat. I got into it too.

I can't tell you how great it was. It definitely was one of the best concerts I've ever been to. I know you won't believe me; nobody would.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Czech Mate


Don't you just love the cross on the miter? I'm a little late in posting this, but I want to express my pleasure of the Pope's appointment of the new archbishop of Prague, Dominik Duka, OP.

Dominik Duka was once imprisoned by the Communists and barred from all priestly ministry. Is that proof of faithfulness or what? Duka is 66 years old, so just right--not too young to serve too long a tenure, yet old enough to be savvy in the politics of his country, Europe, and the Vatican, and the media.

"The Prague appointment came five months after the Pope's weekend visit to the Czech Republic, during which Benedict pondered the country's turn toward secularism as Vlk took to the airwaves to berate himself for, in his mind, accomplishing little as archbishop. Beyond the religious environment, two elusive goals the cardinal passes to his successor are an agreement for the restoration of church property seized by the Communists and still in the possession of the state, and a concordat governing relations between the government and the Holy See -- an agreement which the Czech Republic is reportedly the lone European entity to lack.

Professed into the Order of Preachers a year before his 1970 ordination, Duka is but the second religious to number among this pontificate's major appointees; the other is the 59 year-old archbishop of Rio de Janiero, Cistertian Orani Tempesta, who was named to the Brazilian post last year. What's more, just weeks after the Pope devoted an entire General Audience to recalling the community's founder, (Saint Dominic) the archbishop-elect is also the second Dominican to be given a major assignment in recent months; in June, Benedict tapped his lead American protege, the Bronx-born Gus di Noia, to become an archbishop and #2 of the Vatican's Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments -- one of the current Curia's most sensitive top slots.

While Prague, Rio and the other archdioceses noted above are traditionally headed by cardinals, such is the backlog in the college -- and Benedict's own custom -- that the new occupants will almost certainly not be elevated until after their predecessors reach their 80th birthdays, at which point the retirees lose their voting rights in a conclave.

Said to enjoy "warm ties" with both current Czech President Vaclav Klaus and his predecessor, Vaclav Havel, Duka's installation in St Vitus' Cathedral -- one of the contested properties still held by the state -- has been scheduled for 10 April."

Hat tip to Rocco Palmo for his posting on fr. Dominik Duka, O.P.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Returning to Ash



Last night at the 7:30 PM Mass, I received my ashes. Also, yesterday morning the electricity went out. I thought I had checked the alarm.

...to make the story short, I overslept two hours!

I raced out of bed, threw on my clothes and went off to work. I didn't even comb my hair.

The first thing I did was go into the Ladies Room to freshen up. And what did I see when I looked into the mirror?

Ashes!

I debated whether to wash them off. Shouldn't I wear them to proclaim that I'm Catholic? It would be a penance for me.

But today is Thursday. I had to wash up; I just had to.

Did you know that in Europe, the people don't receive ashes on their foreheads? This picture is Pope Benedict XVI receiving his ashes. They're dusted on the top of the head. This custom explains why these English commentators are so baffled by Vice President Biden's ashes. They think he has a bruise.

Some people don't have a clue.

MMMMMMmmmmm. Maybe I should have kept my ashes on.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ash Wednesday

It didn't begin very well. Ash Wednesday began with the electricity going out, while I was in the shower. I was just rinsing off, so it could've been worse.

I was going to microwave oatmeal, but couldn't. Oh well, today's a day of fasting. But I had to eat something, so I had a small bowl of cereal. No fruit or nuts were added. Just Total and milk.

I couldn't blow dry my hair. "Oh no!" People will think "I'm neglecting my appearance, so that I'll appear to others to be fasting."

Work was one crazy problem after another. Nothing was easy.

Ash Wednesday turned out to be a day of Penance. Since I was assigned to Lector at the 7:30 PM Mass, I didn't get my ashes until night time.

It was a nice Mass. "Lord bless we sinners who ask for your forgiveness and bless all those who received ashes. May we keep this Lenten season in preparation for the joy of Easter." we ask this through Christ our Lord.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Laugh till you Cry


Because I attended Sunday's Mass in the Hispanic Community, I had to really pay close attention to the Gospel, to understand it. The Gospel was about the Beatitudes. This is something that I've heard all my life and I'm sorry to say that it went in one ear and out the other. IOW, I never really meditated on it. But since it was in Spanish, the "Dichosos ustedes los que lloran ahora, porque al fin reiran;" forced me to concentrate.

"Blessed are you who are now weeping, for you will laugh."

Mmmmmmmm. What comes to mind?

At first, I thought of being so sad that you cry. You would cry when someone died. You'd cry over being hurt. But we also laugh so hard that you can cry. Well.....you can. And actually, that's what the beatitude means. When you react in a human way: sad or happy, cry or laugh, then you are blessed. You are blessed because God wants us to be compassionate. Compassion is being very human.

It is said that St. Dominic had the "Gift of Tears." Isn't that a beautiful way to say that he was very compassionate? We should all be so blessed.

Monday, February 15, 2010

It's Time


The boots are jumbled
together by the door.
Shovel's leaning lightly,
on the other side.

February, just won't die.
Blizzards crash through again
and again. It's time for
the snow to go. Retreat.
Melt, Good Lord...just go!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Time

My "cloistered brothers" have a saying, "Don't let the time use you. You use the time."

It would be so easy to do nothing all day except eat and nap. Some do. But the smart ones "use the time." They finish their high school diploma, get a college degree, learn a musical instrument, learn a language, get religion. Lucky ones get a job. Most make a schedule and try to keep it. Such is the life of a "cloistered brother."

You would think that we on the outside would have no problem with time. Some don't have enough time to do all the things they need to do. It's the opposite problem of the "cloistered brother." They are "letting the time use them." AND THEY'RE ON THE OUTSIDE!

They have so much to do that time governs their lives. They have no time for themselves. Not even time to pray.

Tick, tock...tick, tock.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Love of the Word


The members in my book club, the Argonauta, love to read. We all read, but the Argonauta are different from other readers. We read everything and use it to gain knowledge. We're all teachers, or former teachers, maybe that's why. Very few of our books are fiction. We aren't impressed with the New York Times top ten. We definitely don't read any Oprah books, that we know of. Our criteria is that one of us has to recommend the book because they've read it and want us to read it. This works for us.

I've also noticed that I'm different from the other Argonauta in that I love the Word. I love to read the Bible and everything written about it. I have an insatiable thirst for knowledge about the Bible. I'd love to discuss it but most of the time, their eyes glaze over.

Thank God for my Dominican Study Group. I can read and talk about the Word all I want. I'm among kindred spirits.

I like to think of it as Saint Dominic's charism. It's a gift.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Not So Good, Old Days


Yesterday, I heard a story that keeps walking around inside my head. I was talking to a customer. I could tell by the sound of his voice that he was an old gentleman. I answered his questions, and I could tell that he wasn't in a hurry to say "good bye."

He mused about the "good old" days. Only, they weren't so good. It seems that this nice quiet town that I live in, wasn't so nice about forty years ago. The gentleman said the town was like Dodge City. Hells Angels frequented the bars and the youth were wild. In fact, the kids ran rioting, and it got so out of control that the local police called in the state police.

Worse, a policeman was thrown over the railroad bridge, in the center of town!!!!

yeah........that was my reaction too.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

We are Blessed


In Book Club tonight we discussed Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress, by Dai Sijie and Ina Rilke. Naturally, we talked about China. The Cultural Revolution wasn't that long ago. We marveled at the changes in China. We speculated upon the changes to come.

The discussion also made us appreciate how lucky we are to live in this country. We can read and own books. We have libraries. We can have discussion groups, like my own Book Club, the Argonauta. The concept of freedom really hit home in us women.

We thank God that we live here, and now, at this time in history.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Going to the Dogs


Chapter on Sunday had three dogs present. You see, Sister Pauline Quinn, O.P., the foundress of Pathways to Hope, the N.E.A.D.S. program and many other endeavors came with Rene, her Doberman Pincher. Everybody and their dogs, in N.E.A.D.S. were invited.

Rene was a hit. Sister Pauline was cool, too. This picture has both of sister's pets: Niki a Pomeranian, and Rene, the Doberman.

She told us that when she flies Rene positions himself under her seat. The airline personnel always asks "Where is the dog going to go?" She smiles and says, "I deflate her and she fits under my seat." ;-)

And he does, inflated, too.

Rene looked so majestic walking beside Sister, who is a little person. He heeled and slowly walked with her ears perked straight up and posture "dog show perfect." What a magnificent creature!

My cloistered brothers were entertained by Rene's tricks. Near the closing of chapter, Sister let Rene go and play, and she ran around our large circle and received so much love. Dogs don't care what you did. Dogs love you unconditionally.

Did you ever notice that dog spelled backwards is god?

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Called and Gifted



Where to begin? I've had such a busy weekend. Fri. and Sat. I went to a Called and Gifted Workshop.

This workshop talks about each of our "callings" to do God's work. Jesus calls us all to do particular work in the Divine Plan. We all have a unique life and work of love that will transform us and the world about us. To do this work, the Holy Spirit endows us with specific charisms.

We have to find out what our charisms are--"discern." This workshop gave us an inventory questionnaire. That was one day. The next day, the charisms were explained. How to discern our charisms will be discerned over the following six months.

It was interesting and entertaining. My charisms seem to be pastoral: encouragement, faith, hospitality, knowledge, and writing. Over the next six months, I will pray and experiment to see if these are truly my charisms and figure out how God wants me to use them.

Would you pray for me?

Friday, February 5, 2010

Lost in the Translation


An Italian missionary priest that I correspond with, closes his letters with "Come Jesu, anch'io ti amo fino a morire."

When the opportunity arose, I asked Vinnie, who speaks Italian, what the closing said. Vinnie said, "I would love to see you dead, like Jesus!"

!!!!!!! What!

But that doesn't make sense. I tried Babel Fish and got, "Like Jesus, it is said, I would love to see you dead."

This was mixed up but sounded like Vinnie's translation.

Finally, I asked Father what his closing meant.

I will love you until my death, like Jesus loved us.

WOW How wonderful! What an awesome way to end a letter. I am blessed to have such a friend.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Being a Religious out in the World


Charles de Foucauld was beatified in 2005. I'm reading Seeds of the Desert by Rene Voillaume, the Prior General of the Little Brothers of Jesus. The Little Brothers is the Religious Order envisioned by Charles de Foucauld. The Order started after Charles died. He never did get anyone to join up with him.

I think his problem was the place. What he envisioned was the life of a quasi Lay Franciscan/Dominican. But I suppose you have to have a Religious Order before you have any Lay Associates. He wanted his brothers to be religious in the sense of prayer. However he wanted the brothers to share their prayer with the people.

IOW, he wanted to live like Jesus at Nazareth. He lived as a poor workman living in obscurity. But he went out and directly contacted the people. His simple, fraternal friendship brought Love in the presence of Christ, out to the world.

He sounds exactly like a Lay Franciscan or Lay Dominican. The friendship, the intimate conversations, his witness, made Jesus known. He was an ordained priest, however, and administered the sacraments. There's the difference.

Charles de Foucauld was assassinated. The place he lived in--southern Aleria, did not look kindly upon Christians. He was also French. The French were the oppressors of the Berbers, who lived in de Foucauld's area. Double reason to hate him.

Charles de Foucauld is considered a martyr for the Faith

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Presumption


Presumption is a sin. I see both Democrats and Republicans presuming that they alone hold the truth. I see more than a few individuals that commit the sin of presumption. It's quite easy to do. In fact, it is this very sin that Satan tempted Jesus with.

Satan could have chosen sex, drunkeness, glottony, or any other sin. Instead, he chose the sin of presumption.

The devil said, "If you are the Son of God, then prove it, jump..."

Satan even quoted scripture.

He wanted Jesus to believe, us too, that Jesus could do anything he wished and God would have to take of him. But even we see the mistakes that can be made when people mistakenly believe this. We find out that God's protection doesn't mean acting contrary to His will.

Don't be tempted to play God.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Contest for Priests


Zenit is announcing this contest for priests. Why don't you copy and paste this announcement and send it to all the priest you know? Maybe one of them will win.

Priestly Contest: 1st Prize Is Free Trip to Rome

NORTH HAVEN, Connecticut, FEB. 2, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Catholic.net is sponsoring a contest, awarding a free trip to Rome or the Holy Land for the winner.

Any priest can enter the contest with multiple submissions at no fee.

Contestants are asked to narrate the "most inspiring moment of their priestly ministry," and submit it through the Catholic.net Web site.

A press release from the group noted that this initiative aims to "promote the beauty of the Catholic priesthood," especially during this Year for Priests.

Thus, the winner will be given a trip to Rome for the closing of the year in June 2010. For those who already live in that city, an alternate Holy Land pilgrimage is offered.

The contest organizers noted that this competition aims to help priests in this year to reflect upon the "extraordinary presence of God's Providence" in their lives and ministry.

It is also "a gift from priests to the Church" since "the best testimonies will be compiled into a book at the end of the contest for the enrichment of Catholics everywhere."

Contest entries must be received by March 19, at which time the best story will be chosen. Runner-ups will be selected for publication in a book, or online posting at the Catholic.net Web site.