Posts

Showing posts from September, 2011

What a Bunch of Turkeys!

Image
My friends and I were aiming to walk three miles in an hour.  We would have done it too, were it not for Peggy stopping and pointing to someone's lawn.

It was dusk, so the light wasn't too good.

Are those turkeys?

What?

There on the lawn.

No, I think they're Canadian geese


So we stared for a while.  Those turkeys/geese never moved.  Then someone walked out of the house, and right by them.  Those turkeys/geese still never moved.

Duh!  Those are lawn ornaments!


Christian Pastor Needs Your Support

Image
Christian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, is facing a death sentence, in Iran, for apostasy, even though he never was a Muslim. You can protest in person by filling out the letter form at Christian Solidarity Worldwide.  The form is on the Take Action Site.

New App for Catholics

Immediately after reading about the new app to help Catholic voters, in Zenit, I ordered it.  It promises to inform you and allow you to send your representatives your thoughts.  Sounds great.


SOUTH BEND, Indiana, SEPT. 28, 2011 (Zenit.org).- The company that put confession preparation on the iPhone now has a tool for Catholic voters: CatholicVote Mobile, aimed to mobilize and unify those who want to get the Church's view to Congress. Little i Apps, LLC, makers of Confession: A Roman Catholic App, collaborated with CatholicVote.org in the development of the new app. The service provides a method to contact members of Congress, as well as offering mobile access to CatholicVote.org's blogs and news. A one-touch method allows Catholic voters to more easily participate in the political forum. Based on a user's GPS location or zip code, the app generates the contact information for their representative and senators. Users can select to automatically add this information to their co…

Sometimes When You Lose, You Win

Image
I sang all the way home.  "Putting on the Ritz," "Cabaret," "Money makes the world go Around," and other songs reminiscent of Hollywood musicals, rang through the air.  I saw the musical, "Putting on the Ritz," at the Cornerstone Playhouse, in Mystic, Connecticut.  I love the dancing, too.  And there was so much of it; one show tune after another belted out and danced.

Tashia Levy is terrific.  She wrote and directed the play.  She has great talent.  Also giving wonderful peformances are Kaitlyn Kuvalanka, Christine Poland, and Maryanne Whitford.  It was so uplifting and exciting.

It made up for my losing at Mohegan Sun.

"Kop-Chu'u" ("The Hunchback")

Image
Saint Lucy Kim "Kop-Ch'u" was a Catholic Korean when that was not so acceptable.  She married a pagan who would not allow her to practice her faith.  She was compelled to separate from him.  Other Catholic families took her in and she worked here and there to support herself.  She cleaned houses, took care of children, nursed the sick.  Lucy was over seventy years old when she was arrested for being Catholic by Korean's pagan regime.  Lucy's life (c. 1768-1839).  Even in prison, Lucy ministered to ill prisoners. Lucy looked forward to dyeing for God.  She was beaten and ill and died in prison, with the names of Jesus and Mary, on her lips.

h/t to Magnificat

The Pot Calling the Kettle Black

Image
The way someone reads makes a difference in how you understand that reading.  I'm talking about Ezekiel 18:25-28.  Now, I know this scripture well.  I read it yesterday, since I was Lector B, who does the First Reading for the Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time.

I understood this Reading to mean that the person who sinned is the one who deserves punishment.  But tonight, Father Denis Como, sj made me smile to myself, because the way he read, "Is it my way that is unfair, or rather, are not your ways unfair?" gave me a humorous visualization.

I can just picture God remarking incredulously, "You have the nerve to think I'm unfair?  What about yourselves?  What about Troy Davis?  What about ....."

An Abomination!

That's what it is.  Capital punishment in a civilized society--it's incomprehensible to me.  Why do we do this, especially nowadays, with all the information before us that proves it doesn't work?

Let me give you some reasons why its wrong, and I won't start with religious arguments.

1. It doesn't work to cure violence.  Think about it.  Can you bite a toddler to teach him not to bite?  Besides the fact that biting the child doesn't stop him from biting, you have just taught him that he who bites harder wins.  And state authorized executions are inefficient and brutal.  Modern civilized society has many other methods of penal conduct to employ.

2. Capital punishment is a denial of the due process law.  It denies the individual the opportunity to present new evidence, or the opportunity to benefit from new laws, or scientific procedures to prove his innocence.

3.  It is cruel and unusual punishment because out of the modern industrial countries, the United Stat…

Lingo

Image
Criteria for advancement in the Lay Fraternities of Saint Dominic are: completion of the official Ongoing Formation Program, our Chapter's Additional Formation Material,  and a prudent and thorough review by theChapter Council that the member understands and adheres to the criteria for Lay Dominican life as set forth herein in Section III § 1 (Initial Formation).  § 3, IV, Particular Directory Lay Fraternities of St. Dominic Province of St. Joseph.


OLMC has been conducting interviews for the past couple of weeks.  The Chapter Council has to decide who moves forward.  My "cloistered brothers" make me laugh.  They kept asking each other if they were "upped."  Finally, I asked what "upped" meant.  "Upped" is Mafia speak for being promoted up the ranks.

My "cloistered brothers" also kept referring to us Lay Dominicans as the "brotherhood."  The "brotherhood?'' What about me?

It was explained that we all belong to…

Ask Sister Mary Martha: Mysteries of the Rosary

Image
Ask Sister Mary Martha: Mysteries of the Rosary has a post about praying the Rosary.  Someone asked her about praying while driving and a discussion arose.  People were worried that praying would distract a driver.  Really?  People drive talking on their cell phones, texting, putting on make up, looking at maps, turning around to talk to passengers, and more.  Praying is no distraction at all, when compared to others.

The comments also questioned the value of breaking up the Rosary and praying a decade, here and there.  I found this interesting.  Praying is praying.  Isn't prayer talking to God?  Sometimes you just check in.  Sometimes you relate long stories.  Sometimes you even give Him a piece of your mind.  Praying is different strokes for different folks.

In fact, I remember hearing that St. Theresa Lisieux (Saint and Doctor of the Church) didn't like praying the Rosary and said that she wouldn't pray it, if it weren't part of the Rule of her Order.  I can relate …

Sacred Heart Chapter

Image
This is a statue outside of St. Mary's School.  This is where the Sacred Heart Chapter, in Rahway, NJ, meets.  I was there to give them a talk about Pere Marie Jean-Joseph Lataste, O.P.  This chapter is a chapter of ladies.  It's a good group, and I was reacquainted with some Lay Dominicans that I had met at a retreat in the Poconos.

I learned or reviewed lessons I hadn't thought about in years.  It was good for me.  The Chapter was discussing Dominican Spirituality.  This is hard to pin down because St. Dominic didn't write very much at all.  He left no manual or way of life like St. Ignatius, or writings like St. Francis.  Dominicans have no system of spiritual exercises, nevertheless, all forms of prayers are found.  The spirituality is grounded in scriptures.  Liturgical prayers mark our day, but not intense as strict contemplatives.  Our Divine Office prayers should be brisk and light because we need to move out to preach.  Preaching is what Dominicans do.  We p…

The New Translation

Image
I heard it!  I read!  I prayed it!  I was visiting my "cloistered brothers," Agustin and Francisco, in Trenton, NJ, these past few days.  I also gave a talk on Pere Marie Jean-Joseph Lataste, O.P. to the Lay Dominican Chapter, Sacred Heart, in Rahway, NJ.  And lastly, of the utmost importance, I was talking business, and visiting  Omega.

Omega took me to her parish church, for daily Mass.  Nativity of Our Lord Parish, in Monroe Township, NJ, is a nice new parish.  It has a nativity scene set up outside, permanently.  Omega said at Christmas time the church really goes all out.  It must be something to see.

I was surprised to see that the parish is using the New Translation.  Omega said that they were starting now so when the rest of the country starts in Advent, the Nativity of Our Lord Parish will be all ready.  There were colorful cards in the pews with the new prayers.  They're not all that different.

In fact, I don't think we people skipped a beat.  The priest me…

Omega

Image
Hope you'll miss me.  I won't be blogging the next couple of days.  I'll be in Jersey visiting Omega and two of my "cloistered brothers," Agustine and Francisco.  Oh yeah.  I almost forgot--the purpose of my visit.  I'll be giving a Talk on the Apostle of Prisons: Pere Marie Jean Joseph Lataste, O.P.  to a chapter of Lay Dominicans.  I'll post more about it when I'm back.

A Catholic Look at Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide

Image
I have more than a little interest in the assisted suicide proposal being put on the ballot, in Massachusetts.  It wasn’t so long ago, that I was thought to be dying.Ugh—that purgatorial illness!People still talk about being afraid that I was dying.I literally was wasting away.
I knew I was a burden.My husband was my right hand.And my left!He cooked, fed, dressed, and cleaned me up when I was too weak.I was wasting away in my own diarrhea.It’s called Cronkhite Canada Syndrome and it’s an adult onset disease.Old, weak people die from it, because they’re too weak to fight it off.
We discussed putting me in a nursing home.I couldn’t expect hubby to be at my beck and call forever.It would have been for the best.He was relieved from responsibilities by other members of my family.I was a burden to everyone I loved.My death would have been a relief—to everyone.  We discussed my funeral.
That’s what I thought.I was praying to die.Death couldn’t come quickly enough.I wasn’t suicidal because the f…

Let's pray for Cardinal Schoenborn

Image
If the name Christoph Schoenborn sounds familiar, it should; he is the editor of the Catechism.   He's as conservative and traditional as they come.  He and Pope Benedict are personal friends and fellow theologians.  Oh, I know that once in awhile on slow news days, a sound bite of Schoenborn being at a puppet Mass, or something else considered "liberal", will be blared hither and yon, across the media.  But that's not him.  He never knows what he's in for when he makes a pastoral visit.  He's also a gentleman and too kind and pastoral, to throw a "hissy fit" when he's thrown into unconventional circumstances, e.i., puppet Masses.


Right now, he's in a position that he doesn't relish.  He has to lay down the law to a number of priests in his country, Austria, who want to be married, OK giving Communion to the divorced and remarried Catholics, and also give Communion to Protestants, who aren't in communion with us, who want lay preacher…

The Suitcase Man is Home

Image
My friend, Jim, died this week.  Now he is at peace.  No more walking. No more angst.  No more shame.  No more fear.  No more hunger--for love, food, warmth, attention, care, family, companionship...  He was a poor soul.

...You are the God of the lowly, the helper of the oppressed, the supporter of the  weak, the protector of the forsaken, the savior of those without hope.  Judith 9:11

Sometimes I see him in the Common.
Sometimes he appears on the "T."

It's Jim, the Suitcase man.
My friend who thinks I'm an angel.

He's walked the day; God knows where!
Traveling for hope, looking for love.

He's talking to invisible people.
But they're nicer than most.

Head down, one foot in front of the other.
Plod, plod, plod along, my friend.

* from Justitia, Poetry from the Second Annual OPrize for Poetry, ed. Robert Curtis, School Boy Press, 2006, p. 21.


Stanley Seagull

Image
Stanley Seagull by Cathy Mazur, illustrated by Colleen Gedrich is the latest children’s book I’ve read.  As you can see the colors are eye catching and fun.  I think everyone will love the illustrations.  As for the story itself, well that also is fun.  There’s so much to it.  Tribute Publishers has done it again.  There are many themes: the environment, food and nutrition, trash/landfills/use, bird life, etc..  But I’m choosing to write on morality.  Yup!  You read that correctly.  I’d like to emphasize a theme of morality, in Stanley Seagull.

The story is about Stanley who loves his home by the ocean.  He dives and catches his own fish; he has many friends; he loves the sun, salt air, beach, and the ocean.  The gulls though, mostly lived off the “left behinds” that beach goers dropped. 
And one time, Stanley’s cousin swooped down and stole a hot dog, hot off some people’s grill.  Ah, this is where I honed in.  Ask anyone who has lived near the ocean and they will have a similar seagu…

News!

Image
The beatification of Pere Marie Jean Joseph Lataste, O.P. will be in early June, 2012. It will be in France.  He's my spiritual hero and my spiritual guru.  Do you think I'll be going?

Ha!  Is the Pope Catholic?

Try keeping me away.

Do Catholics Pray to Saints?

Image
The Argonauta Book Club meeting went well.  The Argonauts didn't eat very much, but that just means that the people at Work will.  (I'll bring the left-overs to work today.)  I was telling everyone about my plans to go to the beatification of Pere Marie Jean Joseph Lataste, O.P.  This was an opportunity to explain the process of sainthood.  But more than that, it brought up the subject of religion.

Three of the Argonauts are married to Catholics.  One said that her Catholic husband always attended the Episcopal Church's Mass with her.  But he said that's as low as he will go.  (There was an "o-o-oh, tsk, tsk.) Another said that her husband attends his Catholic Mass once in awhile, and he never goes to her Universalist church.  The last Argonaut lady said that her husband always attends Sunday Catholic Mass but he won't go with her to her church.  (I didn't choose to enter into the fray.)

But my Episcopal friend in discussing "how low" her husband…

Pea Pods, Chipmunks, Hissing Cat, and the Argonauts

Image
It's about an hour before the Argonauta Book Club and I'm pooped.  What a day!  I'm glad I only have to host the club once a year; it's a lot of work.

I've got two different kinds of cheeses and basil and tomato crackers.  I've got salsa and chips.  A big bowl of grapes is the centerpiece.  I've got honey roasted peanuts, chocolate almonds, and unsalted peanuts.  I've macaroons and hermits.  A mile high apple pie will be served last.

I'm also trying something I'm not sure about.  See the picture.  That's a picture of either snow peas or snap peas.    I read a recipe somewhere and thought it was simple enough not to copy it down.  I made an onion dip to stuff the peas.  But when I opened the peas there were seeds in them.  Do I leave them in?  They were soft and I ate some.  But I chose to take them out.  Get that--I bothered to take out these itsy bitsy peas, out of their pods.

So I hope Jayne is the first member to arrive.  She's a go…

Stuck

Image
You know how I take "P & P" (Pray and Play) Days off from work, every now and then.  Well today, I took a "CBBC" (Clean Before Book Club) Day off.  (yeah...yeah...book club should meet here more often)

This morning I did errands, bought train ticks to N.J. to see Omega, got lab work done, and did an exercise work out to a TV program.  The work out instructor said something that got me thinking.  (yeah...yeah...I should do that more often, too)  She was talking about when you reach a plateau in your weight loss program.  She was obviously talking about exercise.  But I was thinking how it would apply to everything.  Well, why not?

She said, "Stop what you're doing and think how you could "vary" it."  One example would be a walking program.  If you routinely walk to lose weight and you've reached a plateau where you've stayed the same for a long time, well, vary it, e.i., speed walk for a section.  Then walk normal to catch your br…

Is Forgiveness Weakness?

Mass tonight had Father Chris still talking about forgiveness.  He spoke of the concept of forgiveness and the act.  He spoke of personal forgiveness.

You know what I was picturing?  Fr. Chris was trying to have us see that forgiveness is NOT weakness.  It takes a better and stronger person to forgive.  So I'm picturing a little guy being pushed around.  It makes him angry to be picked on so he becomes belligerent himself.  He feels that he can't walk away and forgive and forget because he is weak and needs to prove himself otherwise.

A physically big person wouldn't even bother with the little guy.  The bigger person knows he can hurt the smaller person, if he wanted to.  Of course he could.  The bigger person is a better person for not hammering the little guy.

Wouldn't the same be true with the virtue forgiveness?  It would be a generous gesture to forgive.  A narrow, mean, small act to not forgive?  In fact, Indira Gandhi once said, "Forgiveness is a virtue o…

Nostalgia

Image
I was part of a panel discussion at Our Lady of Divine Providence & St. Thomas Aquinas Chapter, today.  The discussion was on prison ministry.  I think my Talk went well.  I focused on  Pere Marie Jean-Joseph Lataste, OP.  Everyone seemed interested and asked the appropriate questions.

But I missed my Chapter, and my "cloistered brothers."

Afterwards, I stayed to pray Vespers with the friars.  Praying in community with them really made me nostalgic for St. Stephen's Priory in Dover, MA.  I spent my Postulancy and Noviate there, and I haven't prayed with the Divine Office, with the friars, since then.  St. Stephen's Priory was a beautiful place; 78 acres bordering the Charles River. It was a spiritual haven.  The priory and the grounds spread contemplation.  When I sat in St. Cecilia's Garden, I could hear the river pass quietly by.  Walking down  the path doing the Stations, one would come to a canoe.  Paddling down the Charles defined tranquility.  Canoe…

I Resolve to Reject Hatred

Image
"We resolve today and always to reject hatred and resist terrorism.The greatest resource we have in these struggles is faith." These are the words of the President of the USCCB, Archbishop Timothy Dolan.  The words were offered as a statement on the tenth anniversary of 9/11.  They recommit us to pulling together in faith, work, ideas, and commitment.  We can make our country and the world better.  We know we can.

The Archbishop closed his statement with a prayer, Pope Benedict XVI offered when he visited Ground Zero in 2008.


"O God of love, compassion, and healing,look on us, people of many different faiths and traditions,who gather today at this site,the scene of incredible violence and pain…. God of understanding,overwhelmed by the magnitude of this tragedy,we seek your light and guidanceas we confront such terrible events.Grant that those whose lives were sparedmay live so that the lives lost here may not have been lost in vain.Comfort and console us,strengthen us in…

Situational Irony

Image
There were six of us walking tonight.  It was a beautiful Fall night.  You didn't need a jacket.  The temperature was in the 70's.  We couldn't walk the track because there was a high school football game going on.  We could hear the cheering and band music and even feel the excitement.

We walked around and through the Town Common and headed downtown.  Somehow we had paired off, and soon found ourselves walking and talking in two's.  We usually walk for an hour and we were on the last 20 minutes or so, when the couple in front of us turned to say something, and we all stopped.

Where was the last couple?

If they went somewhere, why didn't they tell us?  Did they stop to window shop?  Did they meet friends?  Did they go inside some where?  Did they head off in a different direction?

Then we spotted them back down the road.  And, they had crossed the street!  They were now on the other side of the street.

We decided to continue slow to allow them to catch up.  We also…

Happy Birthday Mother Mary

Image
I know this birthday cake says "Happy Birthday Mark," but that's because today is Mark's birthday.  My son Mark was born on September 8, which is also Mother Mary's birthday.

Mark received clothes for birthday presents.  What shall I give my most Blessed Mother?

How about her Rosary?

7 x 77 = oo

Image
I was reading the Gospel for the Twenty-Fourth Sunday, (Matt. 18: 21-35) and laughed at a memory.  One of my friends was ranting on and on about a mutual acquaintance.  When I quoted, ""Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive?  As many as seven times?"   Jesus answered, "I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times."


My friend snapped at me, "She's used up more than THAT!"

I laughed then, and I laugh now.  I don't get too upset about people who want revenge.  Some people treasure grudges.  It seems to keep them going.  Maybe it gives them a purpose in life.  And I have reflected on this, quite a bit, especially since I'm in prison ministry.

Victims, understandably, want "justice."  What that is, is different for each person.  That should tell you something, right there.  But however people determine what is "justice" here on earth, will never be satisfying.  True justice is divine.  Venge…

Aren't All Religions the Same?

Image
Isn't one religion as good as another?  This past Labor Day provided some good quality family time.  As usual, certain family members bring up religion.  It use to bother me that people associated me with the Catholic Church, but not only have I become accustomed to it, but I'm rather proud of it.  I guess I give good witness.

But in discussing the topic of religions all being the same, I became aware of how smug I am in my Catholicism.  I have to watch myself that I don't come off sounding superior.  It's just that I am very certain that I belong to the only Church that Christ founded.  He is truly present in the Holy Eucharist.  It's just so obvious to me that I find it incredulous that not everyone sees that.

Jesus started the Catholic Church: (Matt: 16: 18-19), (Luke 10:16), (John 14: 16, 26), and (1Tim 3:15)

Who would dare tell Jesus that the Eucharist is not His Body and His Blood, when He said it was?  (1 Cor. 11:23-26)

I am satisfied and confident that all …

Labor Day

Image
How I spent Labor Day

Labor Day this year, fell on September 5, 2011.  This year it has meant many things, to me.  First of all, as a Union Member, I give thanks that my union speaks for me.  I would have no chance sitting across the table, from management and negotiating working conditions.  I've been there alone and just don't have the political savvy to see their agenda.  Stupidly, I believe everything management tells me.  I just assume that they have my interests in mind.  Besides, negotiating isn't something I do often.  To me, it's just common sense to have people whose job is to represent me, represent me.  They've trained to do just that.  How could any worker oppose this idea?  Those workers who are anti-union are just jealous that they don't have representatives working for them.  Either they should start their own union to represent their ideas, or give back the benefits that unions have h…

Dusk

Image
Last night while driving by Menauhant Beach, I just had to stop and take this picture.  That's a line of clouds above the sea.  It looked like God drew a line with a ruler and placed the clouds right on that line.  Extraordinary!




Tonight, we went to the Knob, to watch the sunset.  It's always spectacular.



From the rising of the sun to its setting, may the name of the Lord be praised.
Image
This morning while praying the Rosary before Mass, I received a blessing.  I should say we received a blessing.  A diocesan priest, on vacation, joined us.  He just knelt over near the sacristy and prayed.  He even remained a while after the Rosary ended.

I'm not saying that diocesan priests don't pray.  It's just that it seems rare to see one pray in a lay lead group.  They're probably afraid it looks pretentious, or that someone will interrupt their praying to ask an inane question.

Thank God they all don't think like that.  And thank God for Father Who Ever You Are.

Lord, shower this priest with the gifts necessary to do Your work.  Give him health and people who support him.  Keep him true to Your teachings.  And lead him to lead other priests to the Rosary prayed with Your children.  I ask this through Jesus, Your Son, our Redeemer.  Amen.

Cathlicism Trailer

Bl. Franz and Franziska Jagerstatter

Image
Franz and Franziska are another example of well married saints and holy people.  Franz is a martyr who refused to participate in evil.  He was a conscientious objector in Austria, when Hitler ruled.  He is an example of Christian resistance.  When Hitler conquered Austria, Franz and Franziska hoped the was would end before he was conscripted into duty.  Franz was the father of three daughters, at that time.  His wife, Franziska was very loving and maybe while not agreeing wholeheartedly, did understand and support him.  Both knew the consequences of resisting the Third Reich.

There is a good biography written by Dr. Erna Putz.  Franz is a martyr, of that there is no doubt.  But I also think Franziska should be considered a saint, also.  Would Franz be what he was, without her?  Her life after his death was hard, due to people.  Yes, she was shunned and even ridiculed.  You would expect disapproval from the government, but her neighbors turned their backs on her.  Some blamed her for hu…