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Monday, June 30, 2014

I'm a Backslider

A backslider to me is someone who has fallen behind and then comes back.  I consider myself a knitting backslider.  Thirty seven years ago, after the birth of my daughter, I stopped knitting.

I know.  I know.  That's when people do knit.  That's when they make all kinds of cute clothes.  Not me.  Once my baby came I didn't have the time to knit.  I pushed myself to make each of my three children, their own unique Christmas stocking; but that's it.  You can tell that I put less and less time in each one.  The first was made out of felt and crewel embroidery fabric.  I made my daughter's name very fancy.  The second stocking was a fast knit with a sewn name.  The last one was four granny squares and the name scribbled in glitter.

The real proof that I was a knitting backslider, was the Christmas tree skirt.  Before the babies came, I started making a Christmas tree skirt, with the magi following the star around it.  I didn't get very far and put the project down.  Not only did I put it down, I put it away.  I didn't want creeping toddlers getting into my arts and crafts projects.

That was thirty seven years ago.

Not only am I a backslider, I'm faithful and I persevere.  Last year, I picked up the project.  I didn't want to do it.  When the children were young we had real big, fat, and tall trees.  I started the Christmas tree skirt with those trees in mind.  However, now we have a skinny artificial tree.

Still.  It doesn't matter.  I started it.  I will finish it.  I said it; I will do it.

However, I may not embroider the magi scene around it.  Although it looks easy and fast.

Don't worry, even if I do, it won't take me thirty seven years.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Lucky Toes

John Harvard

Coming from Mass this morning, the lady leaving in front of me, stopped.  She touched the feet of the statue of St. Anthony and I could tell she was praying.

Because I'm me, I immediately thought of the Boston tradition of touching the toe of John Harvard.  Tourists often have their picture taken with the statue.  It's a tradition that if you rub the toe of the statue, you'll have good luck.
St. Anthony of Padua 

We Catholics call "luck", "blessings."  So I imagine devotees of St. Anthony touch his feet to ask for a blessing.

The difference between the two is that the people who rub John Harvard's foot are carrying on a time honored tradition that doesn't really mean anything.  People who touch the toe of a saint are praying.  They are combining a mental prayer with a tactile touch.  The hitting upon two senses help to deepen the prayer.  It's a spiritual aid.  Looking at a picture will deepen your thoughts.  Holding rosary beads not only helps to count, but also to focus.  Hence, the object (the statue) of the toe touch not only makes the difference, but the intention of the touch.

Bostonians also know another difference.  It is also a time honored tradition, for students to urinate on John Harvard's toe, at night.  Tourists touch and rub the toe during the day, and students pee on it, during the night.

These were my thoughts, leaving Mass, on a Sunday morning.

St. Anthony pray for me.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Sunday Snippets -- A Catholic Carnival

Father Brian Manning
This meme is going up early.  Sunday Snippets going up on Saturday.  What is it?  We're a group of bloggers who get together and share our posts on one blog.  The blog is This and That and Every Other Thing.  Click on there and read the other blogs.

We're discussing our pastors.  Mine is a hard worker and has been a priest for a long time.  He just had a party to celebrate his 40th anniversary as a priest.

Here's what went down this week:

Monday  --  Prayers requested for my friend who is dying.

Wednesday  --  I asked for help with my potatoes and got it.  Thank you.

Thursday -- Can you change God's mind?

Friday --  Massachusetts' Buffer Zone law overturned by the Supreme Court.

Go on over to R'Ann and read my fellow bloggers' posts.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Babies Now Equal to Elephants

Provided by Creative Commons License Wikimedia
Description "Circus Procession" 1888 artwork showing two elephants in human clothing, one of whom rides a tricycle, a clown, and 3 uniformed ...
(1,853 × 1,265 (2.46 MB)) - 07:28, 5 October 2012
Last Tuesday, the family went to the circus.  We parked the car in the parking lot, and as we were walking towards the circus, I saw a group of people who looked like they were protesting, or picketing.  I didn't want to cross a union picket line; I was concerned.  As I talked with them, I found out that they were representing animal rights groups.  They contend that the animals in the circus, specifically the elephants, were taken out of the wild, where they belong, and forced to work and live in unnatural conditions.

What I think of their contention, is not the point of this post.  The fact that these people were exercising their freedom of speech rights is important. I immediately thought of my friend Eleanor McCullen.  I wrote of her case in front of the Supreme Court in March.  

Because of the "Buffer Zone" law in Massachusetts, Eleanor could not talk to people going into an abortion clinic, like the people concerned about the elephants talked to me.  I also thought of the people who stop me on the street and ask me to sign their petition for this and/or that.  I buy girl scout cookies from little girls who sell out on the sidewalk. And every now and then, I see some people sitting outside the post office who want to impeach the president.

Think of all the people who get their message out by talking to you face to face.  But Eleanor and other pro-lifers, are denied that right, supposedly granted in the First Amendment.

That was Tuesday.  Yesterday-Thursday,  McCullen v. Coakley was decided. It was a unanimous decision.   Eleanor can now talk to people, just like everybody else can.

The sidewalk is public.  The pro-life people can now counsel people.

Justice Roberts said "Petitioners are not protesters."   And I am celebrating over this decison.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Does Prayer Change God's Mind

Who knows the mind of God?  Certainly, not me, I'm not sure I know my own mind, sometimes.  A question came up, last night, about the use of prayer.  We were reading Sunday's Readings.  Sunday is the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul.  The discussion was so diverse and open-ended, that we never got beyond the first reading.  First Reading: Acts 12: 1-11

It was the fact that the church was praying for Peter, that set us off.  Peter was going to be martyred, which will happen, eventually, any way.  An angel comes and frees Peter.  Now if God is omniscient, then He knew what had happened to Peter, and what will happen to Peter.  Why pray if what will be, will be?  (See our dilemma?)  What do people expect when they pray?  To change God's mind?  Whoa, that's presumptuous on our part, isn't it?  If prayer does change His mind, why does He pick and choose which ones to grant?  What kind of god is that?

My 2 cents:  God uses our prayers to accomplish His Will.  I know that He's granted my prayers when I didn't deserve it.  Remember when I got stopped by the cops?  Click here to refresh your memory.  I was in the wrong, yet I prayed for mercy.  I didn't deserve it, but God gave me (His unworthy servant) a blessing.  Thanks be to God.

Who am I to question God?  He wants us to talk to Him.  He wants communication.  Prayer fulfills God's Will.  I'm sure of it.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


I have never planted potatoes before.  I didn't and still don't know what to do.  I had this bag of potatoes that I completely forgot that I had.  When I found it, all the potatoes had long-long shoots growing out of them.  So I planted them, just like that.

Should I have cut them up?  I don't know.

Anyway, this picture is what has grown up in the patch of my garden, where I planted them.  They're very tall--up to my waist.  I'm 5'7".  When do I dig them up?

Monday, June 23, 2014

The Kingdom is Here

Last Saturday, everybody that could, friends, church members, and members of the Bethany ministry, met at the home, of our friend, Shirley Cyr.  Shirley is dying from cancer.  Please pray for her entry into eternal life.

We all gathered in front of Shirley's home and did a Nochecita.  Shirley's friends from her parish, Bethany ministry, and prison ministry, all gathered and sang songs.  Shirley came out and greeted us, and then we all lined up to give her a final kiss and hug.

This is God's kingdom.  What an example!  We are one together praising God for Shirley's life.

About an hour ago, I got an email that Shirley has taken a turn for the worse.  Everyone will be praying for her.  May the angels take her home.

God's speed, Shirley.  De Colores.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Sunday Snippets -- A Catholic Carnival

Here we are again, linking up with my fellow bloggers at This And That And The Other Thing, for Sunday Snippets -- A Catholic Carnival.  Click on the link and click on some other blogs, and enjoy.

First, the question was asked how I promote "the right to life."  I've been on the March for Life and want very much to go again.  (See Jan. 21, 2010)  Last year, my prayer group and the right to life group sponsored a Rosary for Life.

Now what I did this week:

Monday -- I asked you to pray for Sin.  (The only time I will ask you to pray for Sin.)

Tuesday --  The story of St. Bridget being made a bishop.

Wednesday -- A reflection and drawing from A Pencil in the Hole by MEK.

Thursday -- Book Review of The Road to Nyn by Brian G. Michaud.

Friday --  Mystagogy of a 4 Year Old.

Saturday --  Start praying for our country.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Novena for Religious Freedom

Starting today, please start praying this novena for our country and religious freedom.  June 21-July 4.  From the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops:

Prayer for the Protection of Religious Liberty

O God our Creator,
from your provident hand we have received
our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
You have called us as your people and given us
the right and the duty to worship you, the only true God,
and your Son, Jesus Christ.
Through the power and working of your Holy Spirit,
you call us to live out our faith in the midst of the world,
bringing the light and the saving truth of the Gospel
to every corner of society.
We ask you to bless us
in our vigilance for the gift of religious liberty.
Give us the strength of mind and heart
to readily defend our freedoms when they are threatened;
give us courage in making our voices heard
on behalf of the rights of your Church
and the freedom of conscience of all people of faith.
Grant, we pray, O heavenly Father,
a clear and united voice to all your sons and daughters
gathered in your Church
in this decisive hour in the history of our nation,
so that, with every trial withstood
and every danger overcome—
for the sake of our children, our grandchildren,
and all who come after us—
this great land will always be "one nation, under God,
indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Mystagogy of a 4 Year Old

I brought my almost four year old granddaughter to Mass.  Her first time at a Mass.  We blessed ourselves with holy water.  She wanted to splash.  We sat in the third pew from the sanctuary--close enough to pay attention.  I pointed out the stained glass windows.  She was unimpressed.  But then a girl altar service came out.  Ah, my granddaughter's eyes locked on the little girl.  I told her that when she was bigger she could light the candles like this little girl was doing.  She started counting them.  A little boy, the same small size came and fixed the chairs.

The music was loud and the procession began.  The first thing we saw was the altar girl carrying the crucifix.  My granddaughter's eyes and mouth both made large circles.  Down the aisle the ministers came, but all she saw was the little girl slowly walking with the music, carrying the cross.

As the Mass commenced, I got a lot of "Why are they doing this, or that...?"  She didn't think the priest was doing anything remarkable.  She barely noticed him.  "Why are they holding that big book?"  "What are they washing?"  "What are they carrying?"  "Where are they putting our money?"

The recessional impressed her, too.  But then came the highlight (in a 4 year old's mystagogy).  The little girl altar server came out with the candle extinguisher.  WOWZA!  Plop...plop...plop...and the flames went out.

Well, it just so happens that I happen to have a small candle extinguisher, so I told my granddaughter that she could play church when we got home.

Church to an almost 4 year old:

  • Grandma lighting every candle in the house and my altar server extinguishing them.
  • Using Grandma's crucifix to march around the house in solemn procession.
  • Holding the unabridged dictionary opened and asking people to read it.
That's Mass to an almost 4 year old.

As for me, I passed the collection plate.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Good Triumphs

The Road to Nyn is a fantasy novel written by a new author, Brian G. Michaud.  The story will remind you of J.R.R. Tolkien’s writing. Like Tolkien, Michaud has created a fantasy world where the characters are believable, and I don’t only mean that the human characters are believable, but so are the fairies, dyads, goblins et al.   The detail and pace bring life into the story.  
The author manages to travel to Nyn with the reader.  From the beginning when Kay almost loses the tournament, due to skullduggery, the reader cares about this character.  In fact, Michaud shows the good in all the good characters, making you love them.
The story begins with a quest.  It’s a very noble quest—to save the people of Devonshire: Kay’s parents and sister, along with the others, who have been captured to serve as slaves to the goblins, in the land of Nyn.  Kay sets off with the wizard, Alamin, a dog and a fairy.  Their adventurous travels take various twists and turns.  At times, you may need to put the book down, but you can’t.  You have to see what happens next.
It’s a Tolkienian journey.  It’s a classic story between good and evil.  Kay and friends fight and win over the evil Lord of Nyn, and his goblin friends.  It’s not a spoiler to tell the reader that good triumphs over evil, because that’s the way it should be. 
There is even a budding love story in the works.  The Road to Nyn has it all: feats of daring do, adventures, twists, and a happy ending.  The story is in achieving the end.  Kay, who in the beginning, gave up his dream of becoming a knight, proves through his quest, that he has all the prerequisites to become a knight. 
Although this book will be found in the Young Adult section, adults will find it compelling, too.  The characters are endearing.  The story is classic.  The pace is fast.  The dialogue is real.  The plot’s imaginative twists and turns are magically skillful.  The ending is as it should be.
Let’s hope Brian Michaud will pen another tale, soon.  
Prices/Formats: $2.99 ebook, $8.99 paperback
Pages: 266
Release: November 2013
Publisher: self-published
ISBN: 9781493545551

Kindle buy link ($2.99):

Amazon paperback buy link ($8.99):

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Guardian at the Gate

A reflection by MEK and the drawing, too.

Too Late

I've learn to hold the darkness within...the balance of truth, armored against, my own animalistic whim, something man has labeled as sin...polar opposites, good is reverse.  Live or evil, which is the curse, the game's played out...through the whole universe, day after day, till we ride, in that long black hearse...Thankful for being a simple man, Glad I don't have to judge this cosmic plan...Only wish I could my struggle fits into GOD'S plan, I, like the guardian at the gate, hoping my effort isn't to late...

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Bishop Faith

This past weekend, I went to a confirmation.  I helped the bishop carry all his accoutrements.  His crosier was quite beautiful.  It is made of silver and kept in a protective case to preserve the silver from oxidizing.  It came in three pieces and fit in the case quite nicely.  I was happy to help Bishop Edyvean to carry everything.  

One of the first things Bishop Edyvean did was to fit the crosier together and hand it over to me, to hold it for him.  Then he went off to vest.  This reminded me of the legend of St. Bridget of Ireland.

 The crosier made it into her icons because of an awkward story about an elderly bishop accidentally saying the wrong prayers when she was blessed to become an abbess… he had mistakenly started to bless her to make HER a bishop! Since she was a woman, let alone not-a-priest, of course she never served in the office, and it was a horribly awkward mistake. (Since it WAS a mistake and not an intentional attempt to subversively ordain a woman, no one got excommunicated.) However, technically the mark of it was on her soul, mistake or not, and therefore it is in her icons…

Often confused with St. Bridget of Sweden, but they are two very different saints.
(Source: theraccolta)
So I reminded Bishop Edyvean of the story of St. Bridget's bishop giving her a crosier.  He didn't take the hint and give me his.
While I was standing there holding the staff, many of my "cloistered brothers" came over to congratulate me on my elevation to the bishopric.  They also took my hand and mockingly kissed my ring.  
We had four confirmandi: Augustin, Ignatius, Luke, and Francis.  May they grow in the faith and stay secure in God's love.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Pray for Sin

I went to a Confirmation, this weekend.  There was a seminarian accompanying the bishop.  I talked with him for awhile.  His name is Sinisa Ubiparipovic.  Everyone calls him, Sin.  He will be ordained, next year.

Imagine, he will be addressed as Father Sin.  Isn't that funny?

Sin requests prayers.

This is the only time I'll ever ask you to pray for sin.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Sunday Snippets -- A Catholic Carnival

It's time for Sunday Snippets --  A Catholic Carnival.  We are a group of Catholic bloggers who link up on Sunday and summarize our week.  Go to the blog Sunday Snippets -- A Catholic Carnival and read my friends.  My week:

Sunday  --  A video of a celebration.

Monday  --  Thinking about Davey.

Tuesday  --  Prayer request.

Wednesday --  Short story.

Thursday --  I finally get fasting.

Friday --  Whistling in the dark.

Saturday --  Horsing around.

R'Ann also wants to know if my family has done the Sacred Heart Enthronement.  I guess not, since I've never heard of it.  I've always had a picture of the Sacred Heart up on the wall though, but it's not enthroned on an altar, or whatever that expression means.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

All God's Creatures Great and Small

Another interesting sight, we hikers came across was what at first a rider on a horse walking a dog on a leash.  As they approached, we saw that it wasn't a dog; it was shetland pony.  Wrong again!  The rider told us it was a mini-horse.

Miniature horses are popular nowadays.  I understand they make wonderful pets, much like a dog and cat. As  you can see, they are very cute!  He reminded me of Cecil Alexander's poem All God's Creatures Great and Small.

                                              All things bright and beautiful,
                                              All creatures great and small,
                                             All things wise and wonderful:
                                             The Lord God made them all.
               —All Things Bright and Beautiful, a hymn by Cecil Alexander

Friday, June 13, 2014

Whistling in the Dark

You see this picture.  It is a picture of Whistling Cave.  We came across it hiking in Upton State Forest, yesterday.  We were wondering why it is called Whistling Cave.  Since you could whistle inside it, and outside too, for that matter, why call it Whistling Cave?  The only reason we could think of was because people sometimes whistle when they're scared, nervous or anxious.  There is an expression "whistling in the dark,"  which I always took to mean that you were afraid and nervous.  Maybe one whistles to divert their senses from hearing and feeling anything out of the ordinary.

Whatever the reason, "whistling in the dark" isn't as effective as prayer.  Whistling will never give you the confidence praying does.  Trust in the Lord; He loves you.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Dieting v. Fasting

Finally, I understand "fasting." A couple of confirmandi in my RCIA class did their presentation on "fasting," today.  I had always understood fasting as dieting, which wasn't giving up something for God, but more for one's own health.  So what good was it?

Others tried to explain to me that "fasting" will bring you closer to God.  I couldn't see it.  How?  How does having a headache, and fighting off nausea, bring you closer to God?

Michael and James explained "fasting" requires one to fill up the area that "fasting" left.  Giving up food, nowadays, isn't considered "fasting."  The secular world tells you to give up food for dieting, for cleansing, and/or for some other health reason.  The kind of fasting Jesus wants is the kind that is for spiritual health.  Giving up a favorite TV show would be good because you would now have time to do some spiritual reading, praying, and/or an examination of conscience.

Remember Jesus going out to the desert to pray, for 40 days.  His fasting included leaving behind his ministry schedule and all its demands, and replacing that with praying and meditation.  Part of His "fasting" was leaving and separation.  But He wasn't dieting; He had to eat and definitely drink.  He modified His diet and prayed.  All His meditation and prayer prepared Him to resist temptation.  Satan didn't have a prayer of tempting Jesus.  Jesus just went through 40 days of spiritual preparation. Physically, Jesus may have been weak, but spiritually, He was at His prime.  What a time for Satan to pick!

We in the RCIA class decided to "fast" in one small way, for one week.  I've decided to cut down my surfing the "net," time.  I'll fill up that time to doing something for my family.  After a week of "fasting," from time spent on the internet, I'll assess what good the "fasting" accomplished.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Red Necks Meet the Red Hats

Thunder and lightning suddenly burst out of the sky.  The bikers were forced to pull into the restaurant’s parking lot.  They all ran inside to get out of the storm.

The restaurant was quiet.  The only people in the joint were a bunch of old ladies with big hats.  The bikers sat at the bar and checked the hat ladies out.  The ladies were all dressed in red.  Maybe they were retired prostitutes.  Maybe this was a union meeting for retired female Canadian Mounties.  Maybe today was a red letter day. 

The bikers thought the ladies were strange.

The restaurant had a juke box and a dance floor.  One of the bikers put money in the juke box.  When the music started he went over to one of the red hats and asked her to dance.

She looked aghast!

Her mouth dropped open, but when the biker took her hand she rose to dance, automatically.  She still didn’t close her mouth as they danced.

Another biker asked another red hatted lady to dance, but her head shook “No,” as her eyes opened in large circles.  So the biker just stayed and talked.  Actually, he was showing her his tattoos.  The red hat kept dipping in appreciative understanding.

Another red hat joined the dance floor.  And another…and another.

I think the red hats liked the hairy, muscled, tattooed, earring, bandanna, bikers.

And the bikers still couldn’t figure out why these old dames were all wearing red.  They asked the red hats, but for some unexplainable reason, they were all rendered speechless.

Eventually, the thunderstorm passed.  The bikers finished their beers, and they started to say their goodbyes.  The red hats walked out to say goodbye, but also to look at their “hogs.”

The bikers invited some of the red hatted ladies for a ride, and the ladies obliged.

And that’s the last the red hats saw of their friends.  They rode on the backs of the Harleys, skirts up over their knees, one hand around the thick middle of a biker, and the other hand holding onto a red hat--and into the sunset they rode.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Urgent Prayer Request

The following was on Facebook. You can feel the desperate urgency in the friar's words.
Fr. Legge wrote this morning: Here's my quick translation of the email message sent early this morning by Fr. Najeeb.
Bad news. I write you in a situation of violence in Mosul that is very critical and even apocalyptic. Most of the inhabitants of the city have already abandoned their houses and fled into the villages and are sleeping in the open without anything to eat or drink. Many thousands of armed men from the Islamic Groups of Da’ash have attacked the city of Mosul for the last two days. They have assassinated adults and children. The bodies have been left in the streets and in the houses by the hundreds, without pity. The regular forces and the army have also fled the city, along with the governor. In the mosques, they cry “Allah Akbar, long live the Islamic State.” Qaraqosh is overflowing with refugees of all kinds, without food or lodging. The check points and the Kurdish forces are blocking innumerable refugees from entering Kurdistan. What we are living and what we have seen over the last two days is horrible and catastrophic. The priory of Mar Behnam and other churches fell into the hands of the rebels this morning. . . . and now they have come here and entered Qaraqosh five minutes ago, and we are now surrounded and threatened with death . . . . pray for us. I’m sorry that I can’t continue . . . They are not far from our convent . . . .
Don’t reply. . . .
Fr. Najeeb Michaeel o.p
"Fr. Najeeb is an Iraqi Dominican who lived with me in Fribourg last year. He works on some unique manuscripts that the Dominicans have in their priories in Iraq. He is a very kind, generous, exemplary Dominican."

Monday, June 9, 2014

Davy and Mary

This picture reminds me of Davy, in my RCIA class.  He loves the rosary.  He walks around with it wrapped around his hands.  He wants to pray Hail Mary all day.

Davy actually wanted to be Catholic because he thought we worshipped Mary.  We've told him a hundred times that we don't, but he insists that we honor her so specially that it's worship.  I don't know what else to do to get through to him.  Finally, I've asked Mary to lead him to Jesus, not her.  Mary will straightened Davy out.

Davy and three others will be confirmed, Saturday.  Come Holy Spirit!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

40 Years!

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My pastor and his parochial vicar celebrated their 40th Anniversary to the priesthood.

Sunday Snippets -- A Catholic Carnival

"What do I think of Catholic schools?" is a complicated question for me.  With our decadent culture the way it is, then I think Catholic schools are a must.  However, they're not affordable around here.  They're private schools for the elite.  As for the quality of the education, well since we could never afford to send our children there, I don't know; they are at least equivalent to the public schools, from what I read.  Another thought, many homeschool their children.  Again, money wise, that's out of the question, I think for most people.  Families need two parents working just to survive.  The parents who do homeschool own their own beautiful homes.  I don't think a family living in subsidized housing could afford to have one parent stay home to home school.  So as I see it, Catholic schools are definitely necessary, just not feasible.  It's very unfortunate, because I went to both public and parochial schools.  I also taught in a parochial school.  I had not only good experiences there, but wonderful experiences. I support Catholic schools wholeheartedly, just not as they exist today.

Do you want to see what happened this week on Sunday Snippets --  A Catholic Carnival?  Then click over to This And That And The Other Thing and read to your delight.  As for me:

Monday  --  A suspenseful short story.

Tuesday --  A slide show.

Wednesday --  A poem.

Thursday --  An embarrassing incident that turned into a blessing.

Friday --  A prayer group tale.

Saturday  --  Church Etiquette

Happy Pentecost!  Come Holy Spirit Come!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Church Etiquette

1.       Always dress modestly and appropriately. 
2.       Use the restroom before or after Mass
3.       Arrive early to allow time to personally prepare.
4.       Refrain from talking; it’s distracting for those who have come to church to pray. 
5.       Turn off (or turn to vibrate) all mobile devices.
6.       Men & boys, remove hats and caps in church.
7.       Deposit any candy or gum in your mouth in the waste baskets in the vestibule.
8.       Make the sign of the cross with holy water upon entering the Church.
9.       Genuflect with great reverence on your right knee (Genuflecting to royalty, or the pope, you genuflect on your left knee), towards the Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle before entering your pew.  If unable to genuflect, a profound bow is proper.
10.   Join in the singing.  This is how people participate in the Mass.  Know that singing is praying twice and gives great praise to God.
11.   Listen attentively to the readings.  God speaks directly to you through His words.
12.   Receive Holy Communion with deep devotion.  Receiving on the tongue or the hand is proper.  If you choose to receive in your hand, please make sure your hands are clean and you have your writing hand under the hand you will receive in.  Please make a simple bow behind the person in front of you just before you receive.
13.   Don’t leave until the priest has given his final blessing—we need all the blessings we can get.  Kneel after the recession and pray a thanksgiving prayer.
14.   Check the pew for all your belongs, before you leave.

Friday, June 6, 2014

The Angels Can't Pick Out The Weeds

The prayer group decided to have a plant sale, to raise funds for the parish.  How could the pastor, Father Diotrophes object to that?  He couldn't think of any good reason to object, but he knew he was going to wish he could say no.  Whatever this prayer group attempted to do always involved him and trouble.

The day came.  They didn’t have much, just one table of plants.  Most of them were sold at Saturday’s Mass.  The early morning Sunday Mass left only a few sickly plants and Father suggested that they end the sale and dispose of those plants. 

He thought they did.

They didn’t.  They thought it was such a waste to throw away living plants, so they planted them in the garden --the pastor’s garden.  The prayer group thought the pastor would like these plants.  They’re called bishop’s weed.

Little did they know that bishop’s weed is notorious for taking over a garden.  Bishop’s weed  grows quickly and chokes out the other plants.  Lucky for the prayer group, Father Diotrophes never could figure out how the goutweed came to his garden.  He had a dickens of a time trying to dig it out.  In addition, somehow the pastor picked up poison ivy.

While the pastor labored to rid his garden of the weeds, the prayer group was reminded of Matt. 13:24-30, the parable of the weeds being planted among the wheat.  The farmer let them both grow together.  At the end of the season, the wheat could be easily distinguished from the weeds, and so the wheat was harvested.

In this case however, the native garden plants weren't allowed to grow because the bishop’s weed/goutweed, choked everything in its way.  The prayer group was wise to stay under the radar, in this case.  

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Voce Sotto

After Mass this morning, my friend were conversing in the church parking lot.  As we talked, I saw a man get in the car, we were standing in front of.  We moved aside.  He started to move and stopped.  We were chatting, so I really didn't pay that much attention to him.  I guess I thought he was just waiting for an opening in the traffic to proceed.

My friend and I continued our conversation, beside his car.  I thought the man was looking at us, but I didn't give it any thought.  After some time, I said to my friend, (voce sotto) "What is this man's problem?  Why doesn't he go?"

Guess what.

He heard me.  He responded, "I've been waiting for a break in your conversation, to ask you a question."

I was embarrassed because I thought I was speaking in voce sotto.

While I stood there with an open mouth, he explained that he noticed I was wearing a religious tee shirt.  He asked me if I were interested in Bible studies.  I told him that I belonged to two Bible Studies groups in two different parishes.

Then he handed me a present.  It's an audio Bible.  It looks like a small radio, but it only contains the Bible.  I thanked him and he moved on.

I guess God wanted to bless me.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The Confessional

In the Confessional
Listening for the door to slide,
                I self examine.
My throat spasms up thru my lips,
                a ball of gossip.

Gossip rolls down the front of my dress.
                Horrified, I grasped
for it, as it ricochets off the walls
                and out the door.

Gossip sneaked under the pews.
                That slippery sphere
rolled on faster and faster,
                murmuring away.

Horror sucked away my breath;
                mocking me, rolling on.
I find myself running on my knees,
                passed shocked penitents.

Down the aisle to the Tabernacle.
                Gossip mocked louder.
How vile and loathsome is gossip,
                Slippery, slimy, sphere.

Leaping to snatch it up quickly,
                it slips my fingers
and rolls down the steps out the church,
                muttering insults.

Once outside, gossip bounces
                every which way.
Stop it.  Stop it.  Stop it.  I scream.
                It’s uncontrollable.

Uncaring, gossip runs away
                into the busy street,
Right under the tires of a car.
                The taunting stops.

Flattened, the ball of gossip breaks
                open a bleeding stream
of lies, stories, and useless talk--
                dripping a foul trail.

Off the road and into the gutter
                run my lies and shame,
now absolved by God’s mercy,
                down the sewer drain.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Erecting a New Sign

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A couple of months ago, I posted about the cleanup we did at Potter Field.  That's the prison cemetery.  We noticed that the sign to cemetery had rotted away.  We took it home with us.  Nyghia Nye made a new one.  This morning we took Nyghia's sign back to the cemetery and put it up.  This smilebox chronicles our endeavors.  Actually, Nyghia did all the work.  We offered encouragement. 

As we surveyed the cemetery, before we departed, we all saw a yellow butterfly flutter above the graves.  How's that for a sign from God blessing the cemetery?

Monday, June 2, 2014

Suspicious Mind

The black car sped up as it passed by the house.  Lori, for some unexplainable reason, happened to look up at that very moment. 

“It couldn’t be.” She thought.  Last night, she thought someone in a similar car was following her home.
Pic from Pencil in the Hole by MEK

“I’m getting paranoid.”

On the way home, after work, Lori ran multiple errands.  Store to store, she noticed that same black car.  It was the dog she noticed, in the passenger seat. 

“Would a stalker bring his pet along?”


Lori consciously made herself think of something else.  She focused on watering the garden.  The tiny insects buzzing around helped.  The humidity was starting to get to her.  Bugs and sweat, drove Lori into the house.

But, the door was ajar.  No way did she leave the door open.  The air conditioner was on. 

“Who’s there?”

Lori’s question went unanswered. 

Cautiously, Lori went from room to room, putting lights on.  There was no one.  She was alone. 

“Was she?”

Shaking sense into her head, Lori decided to shower, dress, and go over a neighbor’s.  She needed to return their rotor tiller, anyway. 

An hour later, Lori was knocking on her neighbor’s door.  She heard a dog backing and then the door opened.  She found herself staring into her stalker face—her presumed stalker!


“Hello, I’m Dominic, Kate’s brother, and the dog is Blackie.” 

Kate came into the room.  “Oh, I see you’ve met Dom; good, I’ve always wanted to introduce you two…”

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Sunday Snippets -- A Catholic Carnival

The past two weeks have been a whirl; so much so, that I didn't have time to post Sunday Snippets -- A Catholic Carnival, last Sunday.  Not so, this week.  I'm posting this week's posts.  First, since this is the month of May, which is dedicated to Mary, I want to post about my joining in with Mary's pregnancy.  On March 25, the date upon which the church celebrates the Annunciation, I start a novena, which I continue for nine months.  It is completed on December 25, the birth of Jesus.  The first few years I did it, it was a chore.  Now, like praying a daily Rosary, it's a part of my life.

Now, I join my fellow bloggers, at This And That And the Other Thing Blog, and recap my week:

Monday -- Childhood memories of Memorial Day

Tuesday -- Highlighting Scripture

Wednesday -- Castle Island with the Trail Blazers, not to be confused with my Trail Hikers

Thursday -- A morning blessing

Friday -- A tribute to Maya Angelou

Saturday --  Please sign the petition (It's working to apply pressure on the Sudanese government.)

You know, if you click over to This And That And the Other Thing Blog, you'll have some good reading to entertain yourself.  

The Blood of Goats will Shatter Diamonds

                                                                        Greek bronze bust of Aristotle by  Lysippos ,                       ...