Showing posts from February, 2017


I'm off to the Religious Education Congress sponsored by the diocese of Los Angeles.  See you next week.

The Pope Teaches the Children

I hope the pope doesn't give up his day job.  See if you agree.

Pope’s Chat With Children, Other Groups at St. Mary Josephine of Heart of Jesus Parish on Outskirts of Rome Posted by ZENIT Staff on 21 February, 2017 Below is a Zenit working translation of Pope Francis’ chat with children and other groups during his visit to a parish on the outskirts of the city of Rome, the afternoon of Sunday, Feb. 19, the second of this type since the end of the Jubilee of Mercy, and the 13th visit of this nature. The parish of Saint Mary Josephine of the Heart of Jesus in Castelverde di Lunghezza, is six kilometers east of the circular highway around Rome: ***
Pope Francis: I’ll ask question and you all answer. How many “Gods” are there? [“One”]. But … I know three! [“The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit”]. Father, Son and Holy Spirit: one and two and three. They are three. What do you answer to this? Who can answer? [Someone says: They are three”] Are there three Gods or one?  [Someone says: …


My neighborhood once was a haven for families.  When my children were young gangs roamed our backyards and walked in and out of our kitchens.  Literally, there was a path in the hedges between the house next door and mine.  The voices of children echoed in the air.  Bus stops had lines of children queuing.  My children had a wonderful neighborhood to grow up in.  They and I have good memories.  That was then; this is now.

For a long time, I've wondered where the children went.  I see plenty of young people jogging.  I also see many couples, also singles, walking dogs.  The thought has occurred to me that people aren't having children nowadays, but rather they're pet owners.  Pets are satisfying the human need to love and nurture.

My thoughts were reinforced today by the article, "Fur Babies," in Breakpoint.  John Stonestreet articulates what I've long thought.  He calls it "pet parenthood," or "fur babies."  Young people today opt to care…

The Hidden Power of Holy Water

The Hidden Power of Holy Water: Many people have forgotten about holy water.  I haven't.  I love to sprinkle it upon each bed in my home.  I have a small font of holy water on my kitchen window sill.  (No my cooking isn't that bad!)  I bless myself often during the day.  This reminds me of my baptism.  I am a child of God.  I need Him.  To quote this article in Aleteia:

In theological terms, holy water is a sacramental. It is a mixture of blessed salt and blessed water, and, although, by its use, sanctifying grace is not conferred, actual grace is obtained. 

Every church has a container of holy water.  Most people don't even notice it.  Every time I fill my bottle with holy water from St. Mary's container, I see people look at me quizzically.  One time a lady asked me after Mass, "What were you doing?"  I jokingly quipped, "Worshipping the radiator."  Don't worry; I laughingly explained that I was getting holy water out of the little tank.  This …

Ibero-American Congress of Theology

Theologians gather at Boston College for Ibero-American Congress of Theology: CHESTNUT HILLs week long Ibero-American Conference of Theology: a public forum on the Theology of Liberation. 

I was introduced to Liberation Theology in a round about way.  In 2010, Haiti was devastated by an earthquake.  Somewhere in my readings about Haiti, I came across Dr. Paul Farmer in the book, Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder.

From then on, Dr. Farmer kept popping up.  First, because he's local (Boston) and then because of his humanitarian exploits.  Lastly, he lives in Rwanda.  Ever since Immaculee, I've been paying attention to Rwanda.  

One of the last books I read,In the Company of the Poor: conversations with Dr. Paul Farmer and Fr. Gustavo Gutierrez, plunged me into understanding Liberation Theology.  So when I saw that Boston College was hosting a public forum on Liberation Theology, I signed up.

Ibero-American Theology is a theology that puts a preferential option on the lives …

Penal Cross

I'm sinning as I post this.  I'm coveting penal crosses.  My friend, Marie was showing me her pictures from Belfast, Ireland.  I happened to say that the only souvenir I want is St. Brigid's cross.  She told me that she brought home a penal cross.

"What's that?"

Marie explained that it was a cross made out of wood because that's the only material prisoners had.

My ears perked up at the noun "prisoners." Prisoners made a cross?  You better believe, that once I got home, I googled "Penal Cross."

Marie was wrong.  They are called penal crosses because of the Penal Laws enacted in 1695.  These laws oppressed all religions except the Anglican Church, or as it was known in Ireland--Church of Ireland.

Well, you know what happens when religion is oppressed.

It flourishes all the more.

Catholics just went underground.  They surreptitiously worshiped.  Priests celebrated Masses in safe homes and people hid their devotional objects.  The penal…

Super Bowl Lessons for TOPS

As I posted on February 12th, Do Your Job, I'm presenting a program in TOPS on the subject of the lessons learned from Super Bowl LI

5   Lessons I want you to learn for the Super Bowl

First: Always be mindful.  Don’t relax and forget. The Atlanta Falcons learned this one the hard way — but we can’t forget what we’re trying to do. The Falcons  were ahead.  At no time did the Patriots lead.  I repeat. The Patriots never were in the lead; they were always losing.  Keep making the right choices. Second: Never give up. Everyone fails.  It’s part of being human.  Copy what Tom Brady did.  First, he got a touchdown with no extra point.  That’s our equivalent of staying the same weight at “weigh in.”  So we didn’t lose.  We’re still OK. Next the Patriots got a touchdown with a two-point conversion.  That our equivalent of losing a pound. The following week we lose another pound like another touchdown with another two-pound conversion. And finally, we’re excited.  We’re on a roll and continue with…

Ignorance of Catholicism


ˈfāspä(l)m/  noun 1. a gesture in which the palm of one's hand is brought to one's face, as an expression of disbelief, shame, or exasperation.

This was my reaction to this story from a Facebook friend, Michael Liccione: Michael Liccione1 hr · Steubenville, OH ·  "My favorite reporter story is from when I was communications director for the Diocese of San Diego. A reporter heard about the (then) new Catechism of the Catholic Church. Her opening salvo was: "What can you tell me about the latest cataclysm of the Catholic Church?" "Which one?" I replied." --Mark Brumley

Rumpelstiltskin for Adults

Twisted by Bonnie M. Hennessy is an adult fairy tale.  Remember Rumpelstiltskin?  Now the little man will dance in your adult dreams.  It’s not your kiddie’s sweet dreams.  It’s a haunting horror. Twisted is a gothic romance.  And it is twisted.  Aoife is the major character who keeps her family’s farm and her family, for that matter, together.  Her father is a drunk and womanizer, who’s hobby is visiting the local brothel.  Aoife has pulled her father out of there to come home, so often, that she’s best friends with the house’s madam. Her mother is an enabler.  Aoife is a good manager of her family’s farm.  Because of her shrewd business sense the family has just about enough money to get by.  There is a constant concern, however.  Tara, Aoife’s sister has asthma, or something like that.  She is constantly sick and has a hard time breathing.  Doctor’s visits and medicine take a chunk out of the family’s budget.
To recharge herself, Aoife has turned to the forest.  Here she finds refu…


It's nice to know.  I'm going to the Religious Education Congress sponsored by the Diocese of Los Angeles.  In the instructions that are sent out, I noticed this little note:

If there are protesters at Congress, please do not engage in conversation with them. Ignoring them is the best way of responding. We have developed a plan with Convention Center staff to handle any potential protests.

 I do ignore them mostly because I'm rushing to get to the event.  Besides, there's more of them than little ole me.  They have a bullhorn, too.  But I've encountered them when the pope came to the USA, Eucharistic Congress and last year at the religious congress.  I never thought much about it.  I always thought they were just trying to save my soul, according to their beliefs.

But you think they'd get the idea when their conversion rate                                                                      from these events is "0".

Behaving Like God

Lectio: Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
Reading 1LV 19:1-2, 17-18 The LORD said to Moses,
"Speak to the whole Israelite community and tell them:
Be holy, for I, the LORD, your God, am holy.

"You shall not bear hatred for your brother or sister in your heart.
Though you may have to reprove your fellow citizen,
do not incur sin because of him.
Take no revenge and cherish no grudge against any of your people.
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
I am the LORD." Studium: This book is named "Leviticus" because a lot of the book deals with priests, and the priests were from the tribe of Levi.  The book of Leviticus parallels the Ten Commandments but aimed for the Levite priests.  Although these particularly chosen verses are for us people, too.  We are all to strive towards holiness as God is holy.  We are to revere God, and we should respect each other as God reveres us. My favorite priest, Father Aniello, says, "Thank you, Jesus, for making me your # 1.  …

Pray for Him

Leslie Ray Charping needs prayers.  He recently died and from the brutal, mean obituary that was reported in the newspapers, no one will miss him, let alone pray for him.

Sometimes the people who need love the most, and the hardest to love.

Requiescat in pace Leslie Ray Charping.


First Things had a poem that resonated with me.  It might with you, too.

Prop Tools

My friend the carpenter (no, not that one) 
Told me about a trick some workmen use.
They leave some tools around if they’re not done—
Nothing that they can’t afford to lose—

As if they’ve gone for coffee or a snack,
Or an emergency—a roof with leaks.
They want to keep us thinking, “They’ll be back,”
Despite the fact that days stretch into weeks.

But even if they do this to deceive,
They do it. They need us to think that they’re 
Decent, the kind of men who wouldn’t leave. 
That Skilsaw on the ground shows wear and tear,
A lot like faith. We need it. So do they.
A promise to believe in anyway.
—Midge Goldberg The first time was 45 years ago!  We were having a new roof installed. Hubby had to leave and he was waiting and waiting for the roofer to finish.  Finally, he couldn't wait any longer.  The roofer only had about a foot wide length across the roof to do.  Hubby told the roofer he had to leave and paid him.

Do Your Job!

Aleteia hits the nail on the head, again!  Today there's an article by Tom Hoopes on 5 Lessons he wants his sons to learn from the Patriots win in Super Bowl LI.

He's highlighting spiritual lessons:
Don't coast.
Never give up.
Never turn against your own.
When it's hard to do, do it for your Mom.
Do your job!

I think I'll use this in my next TOPS meeting.      

Don't slack.
Keep trying.
Don't get down on yourself.
Do it for your family.
Do it for your health!

The Big Game

The Big Game: I'm not sure there were many people at the 6 p.m. Mass on Super Bowl Sunday. Actually, I think I can say without too much reservation that the congregation was most assuredly smaller than usual. That's because everyone was preparing to watch the Super Bowl game.

Jaymie Stuart Wolfe, the author compares this particular game's result to the spiritual life.  I like this and agree.  Super Bowl LI was unique.  The Patriots, who won, never led in the entire game, yet they won.  Let this be a lesson to everyone.  Persevere.

The same is true in our spiritual lives.  How many times do we sin?  How often do we doubt?  Isn't easier to just relax and join the cultural decline of moral values?  Aren't we tired?

Well, don't.  No matter what, take a lesson from the Patriots and persevere.

Thy Kingdom Come

What do you think?  Come join.  Why not?
Thy Kingdom Come is a global prayer movement, which invites Christians around the world to pray between Ascension and Pentecost (May 25 - June 4) for more people to come to know Jesus Christ. What started out as an invitation from the Archbishops’ of Canterbury and York in 2016 to the Church of England has grown into an international and ecumenical call to prayer. The hope is that: People will commit to pray with other Christians around the world- as a church, individually or as a family;� Churches will hold prayer events, such as 24-7 prayer, prayer stations and prayer walks, across the UK and in other parts of the world;� People will be empowered through prayer by the Holy Spirit, finding new confidence to be witnesses for Jesus Christ.    See:


Sister Theresa Aletheia Noble, FSP, says it so clearly.  In her article,"Catholic Social Media: Why Its Important to our bishops and pope,"she lays the reasons why we need authoritative voices and as such, respect is due them. I've often bemoaned the false news and the angry tone often portrayed on social media.  Sister gives us these criteria to help us judge whether or not what we are looking or reading will really help us.

1. Does this article/writer/website give other people in society (lay leaders, politicians, Catholic organizations) more benefit of the doubt than the bishops or the pope? 2. Does this article either subtly or overtly make personal attacks? Name calling or the use of disrespectful nicknames.Attacks against a person’s character (i.e. judgments about a person’s inner life based on outward actions).Negative judgments about a person that communicate condescension, bitterness, or contempt. 3. Is this article opinion or fact based? If an opinion, does th…

Women Speak for Themselves

Are you interested?  Sign up for the WSFT Gatherings materials at our website.

Pop Quiz

Can you identify these objects?

Litany Against Fear

This morning I was reading Nicole Cliff's journey from atheist to Christian.  I'm a fan of Nicole
Cliff's written expressions.  I use "written expressions," because I like the way she writes.  I don't know if she's written any books because I've never searched for them.  I've just run across her articles, now and then, here and there.  Somewhere, I remembered reading that she used Buffy's Litany Against Fear during her childbirth labor.  Buffy prayed a litany?

Today, I had the time to google.  I can't find Buffy's litany.  I surmise she used the famous litany from Bene Gesserit, who wrote the Dune series of novels in the 1960's.  Reciting this litany became "camp."     It caught on and morphed into a socially acceptable bona fide prayer.                      

The Litany Against Fear
I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass …

The Sacrament Game

Back in the day, my friends and I used to play "Dictionary."  All we needed was a dictionary.  We'd open the pages at random and pick out a word.  We'd give a choice of definitions with the correct one mixed in with others.

My RCIA class plays something like this, but they call it the Sacrament Game.  You need a catechism and a score card.  Questions are asked from the catechism.  If you answer correctly, you are Baptised. Answer another one correctly, and you reach the Sacrament of Reconciliation, etc.  The first one to have attained seven sacraments wins.

The Demise of Flat Stanley

All week Flat Stanley hung around the Senior Center.  He had his picture taken with the Cribbage Club, eating in the cafeteria and in the writers' group.  Flat Stanley gets around.  That’s the point.  Flat Stanley is a community project.  A student whose class has undertaken the project will send Flat Stanley to someone far away.  That person will take a picture with Flat Stanley and write down what the picture depicts.  It’s fun and easy and we seniors enjoyed having our pictures taken with Flat Stanley.
But something terrible happened when a Grandma and Grandpa took Flat Stanley hiking.  The group is called The Trail Hikers.  On this particular ominous day, The Trail Hikers were just finished walking the Warner Trail, in Foxborough.  We congratulated ourselves for completing 3.3 miles in less than two hours.  The Trail Hikers laughed as we took our picture with Flat Stanley.  We balanced him on a boulder and put a twig in his hand, to look like a hiking stick.  The picture came…

The Art of Listening     Listening is hard for me.  I always want to jump in with advice. I have heard and understand that isn't what's needed.  Affirmation is called for and the easy way is to spend all the time that the person needs, with him, listening intently--without interruption.