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Monday, October 31, 2022

Celebrating Halloween

 Tonight is Halloween and people, especially children, like to dress up in.  Scary costumes are prevalent.  I like to celebrate Halloween as an opportunity to catechize.  I explain that our dead are more alive than we are in heaven.  They are still with us.  It's a communion of saints.  We pray for our deceased loved ones and they pray for us.  

I can't forget the candy.  Children ring the doorbells and people give them candy.  I can give and give and unlike Christmas, no one says, "Oops, I forgot to give them something."  It's a time to give and remember.  

Enjoy the moment.

Sunday, October 30, 2022


 PTSD is an acronym for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.  These past few days, I feel like I'm suffering from PTSD, after reading Danticat's historical novel, The Farming of Bones.  This is a story told by Amabelle Desir.  Amabelle was an orphan who was rescued and brought to live as a companion/handmaid to Valencia.  It is a tragic story of a massacre that took place in 1937 on the island of Hispaniola.

I didn't know what the story was about.  I didn't read the back cover, or anything.  I started with the story that I assumed was about living on a sugar cane plantation in the Dominican Republic.  Within an hour of reading, I was racing for my life.  It is a fast-paced novel.

The story begins with Valencia screaming.  Her labor has begun.  She gives birth to twins.  One of the dies a few days after being born.  This is a foreshadowing of what is to come.  

Amabelle is Haitian, and so is the love of her life, Sebastien.  He is a cane-cutter.  The title of the book comes from the sound of cutting sugarcane.  This life is called travay te pou zo, the farming of bones.  Sugar cane when cut sounds like breaking dry chicken bones. Sugar cane is the main export in the Dominican Republic.  The Dominicans use Haitian workers because they work cheaply and are treated poorly.  

At the time of our story, 1937, Generalissimo Rafael Lionidas Trujillo Molina was the president of the Dominican Republic. Suddenly, a purge is ordered and the Haitians have to leave.  They are driven out mercilessly.  

How do you tell a Haitian from a Dominican?  There was a simple test.  One had to pronounce "parsley" in Spanish.  For French or Creole-speaking Haitians, this was impossible.  The Spanish word for parsley is "perejil."  The trilled or rolling "r" does not exist in French, so Haitians would pronounce the word as "peweril" rather than "perejil."  Who can say it, lives.

When the massacre starts, Amabelle flees across the mountains to Haiti.  Sebastien never makes it.  Amabelle waits and hopes but it is all in vain.  The physical descriptions are so vivid that it is understandable that the last chapters demonstrate the psychological trauma Amabelle and others lived.  

There is an Afterward at the end of the book.  In it, President Roosevelt states that he is appalled at the systematic campaign of extermination that took place, in the Dominican Republic.  Strange isn't it, the year is 1937, and there is a systematic campaign of extermination being planned by the Nazis.  

Why does man always look for a scapegoat?


Saturday, October 29, 2022

The Church is the New Jerusalem


R. (cf. 1) Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
I rejoiced because they said to me,
"We will go up to the house of the LORD."
And now we have set foot
within your gates, O Jerusalem.
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
Jerusalem, built as a city
with compact unity.
To it the tribes go up,
the tribes of the LORD.
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
According to the decree for Israel,
to give thanks to the name of the LORD.
In it are set up judgment seats,
seats for the house of David.
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.


This is an intercessory prayer and the writer is praying for his family and friends in Jerusalem.  He is asking for peace and that includes the peace that comes from God, besides peace from war.  Peace from God gives you peace of mind.


What Jerusalem was for the Israelites, our Church is for us.  The Church is the new Jerusalem.  Going to Church should be our safe place, our place of peace, and our joy.


Lord, I see You in the Tabernacle.  I see You in the Eucharist.  I taste Your Body and Blood in Communion with my brothers and sisters in faith.  Even more, I feel Your Love.


I rest in your love.  Your peace overwhelms my body. Come Holy Spirit.


As soon as I recuperate from COVID, I'm going to Adoration.

Friday, October 28, 2022

Courage and Will

The Courage and Will to Preach/ Lay Dominicans At The Edge of the World by Mr. Robert Curtis, O.P. is a manual for Lay Dominicans.

Lay Dominicans are ordinary people associated with the Order of Preachers.  The Order of Preachers is a religious order just like Franciscans and Jesuits.  The Order of Preachers was founded by Saint Dominic, hence they are better known as Dominicans. The lay people who follow the spirituality of Saint Dominic are called Lay Dominicans.  This book could be called a manual for Lay Dominicans.

It provides the background of the evolution of Lay Dominicans.  Also, it provides the how-to and to whom they should preach.  Mr. Curtis calls Lay Dominicans to duty.  They are drafted!

The times call for preachers just such as them. Social Doctrine, Encyclicals, Apostolic Letters, Dominican General Chapter Declarations, all offer reasons for the laity to enter today's world fray.  It's less than $ 15.  Here are the product details:

Product Details

Publisher:Barnes & Noble Press
Publication date:10/12/2022
Product dimensions:6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.82(d)
Here is a biography of the author, Mr. Robert Curtis, O.P.  "Robert Curtis is a life-professed lay Dominican of 30 years in the Western Province, U.S.A. He is a professor of English at a local college and is married to his wife, Maria, also a lay Dominican of 30 years, with three children, and five grandchildren. His youngest daughter, Jennifer, is also a lay Dominican. This is his 7th book on the Order along with 33 other books to his name."

Passing the Time

 Due to the fact that I'm home bound with COVID, hubby has assumed the tasks I usually perform.  It is driving him crazy to wait.  I pick up one grandchild at 2 and then wait for the other one at 2:45.  We went to the grandchildren's home and waited for Dad to come home from work.

I usually embroider, read, listen to a podcast, or pray.  I always have a Rosary in my pocket.  Whereas, hubby doesn't embroider, or even know what a podcast is.  He reads newspapers but we only get the Sunday papers.  He isn't religious so he never prays.  Too bad, you're never alone when you talk to God. 


Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Children's Faith Formation

 My COVID tests are still positive, but I think I'm getting better.  Each day is different, not better.  One day I have a head ache.  The next day that's gone but my lymph nodes hurt.  Then that's gone and now I have nasal drip.  I have a Halloween Party I want to go to Friday, so I'm praying that my COVID tests negative tomorrow.

Meanwhile, I'm reading the conciliar and post conciliar documents of Vatican II and read in the Directory of Children's Masses how important home formation is for the Eucharist.  No wonder people don't understand what's going on.  The adults who should be teaching and passing on the faith, don't know and understand the Eucharist, how can they pass on what they don't know?  Sunday School has to be enforced at home.  An hour a week for faith formation is clearly not enough.

Lord, send Your Holy Spirit to enlighten us. We know not what to do?

Chapter 1

The Church, which baptizes infants and entrusts them with the gifts of baptism, should make sure that they grow in communion with Christ and the Christian community.  ...Liturgical and Eucharistic formation must not be divorced from the child's general education as a human being and a Christian.

It can't help but be divorced from the general education of the child.  There's some crazy stuff being taught in schools and parents can't stay on top of it.  Very few people have the wherewithal to know what's being taught.  Just the fact that schools can't have a Christmas Concert is telling.  It's called a Winter Concert with silly songs, no carols.  Our children know no Christmas Carols, never mind learning their religion.  

 Psalm 124:8 Our help is in the name of the LORD,

Monday, October 24, 2022

Catholic and Protestant Preaching


This picture is by Georg Pencz.  He was a sixteenth century engraver, painter and printmaker.  Here he is depicting the styles of Protestant and Catholic preachers.  Note that the Protestant Preacher on the left is holding a Bible in his hand.  The Catholic preacher isn't holding anything.

This time in history, most of the people couldn't read, so the Protestant Preacher is reading it to them and I assume explaining his interpretation of it.  I also assume that the Catholic Preacher is preaching during the Mass, which means that the scriptures have already been read, and he is giving a homily.

The Protestant Preacher relies on the Bible, alone.  The Catholic Preacher also relies on the Bible, but also Catholic Magisterium, the Catechism, history, sacraments, and over two thousand years of history (at that time over one thousand years).

  • Title: Protestant and Catholic Preaching, Broadsheet
  • Creator: Georg Pencz
  • Date Created: 1529
  • Physical Dimensions: 16.4 × 37.9 cm
  • Technique and Material: Woodcut and letterpress
  • Provenance: Old inventory, acquired prior to 1877
  • Museum: Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett
  • Inv.-No.: 643–7
  • ISIL-No.: DE-MUS-018511
  • External Link:
  • Copyright: Photo © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett/ Dietmar Katz; Text © Renaissance and Reformation: German Art in the Age of Dürer and Cranach, A Cooperation of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, and the Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen München, Catalogue of the Exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Nov 20, 2016 – March 26, 2017, Munich: Prestel, 2016; cat. no. 32 / Michael Roth
  • Catalogue:
  • Artist Dates: c. 1500–1550 Leipzig or Breslau (Wrocław)
  • Artist Biography: The painter, printmaker, and journeyman in Dürer’s workshop was expelled from Nuremberg, along with the Beham brothers, as “godless” in 1525, but in 1532 he was appointed municipal painter there. His sometimes Titianesque portraits and his ceiling paintings reminiscent of the frescoes in the Palazzo del Te in Mantua suggest that Pencz traveled to Italy. Having been appointed court painter by Albrecht of Prussia, he died en route to Königsberg.

Order of Preachers Laity Style

  In order to be effective, the Lay Preacher needs to be prepared.  Faith Formation classes, readings, videos, lectures, etc, are some of the plethora of ways to learn about the faith.  It is a constant education—a lifelong occupation.

     Along with learning the faith, one must prepare to speak.  Even if you preach through art or music or something else not involving talk, you will be asked to talk, someday.  You will be invited to speak at book stores, women clubs, senior centers, breakfasts, funerals, etc, about your work.  So start preparing.  I suggest you take a public speaking course at a local college, or join Toastmasters, and watch videos.  Get used to speaking. Become a Lector in your parish; this definitely will get you used to speaking to a crowd.  Even if you never have the occasion to speak in public, you will benefit from the public speaking training you have received.

       For example, one of the most sought after programs for prison inmates is Toastmasters.  When I learned of this, I was first puzzled.  What a waste?  I thought.  But think again.  Who needs to present themselves as the best version of themselves?  Speaking is presenting yourself.  Things like, posture, clothing, grooming, voice, pronunciation, and articulation, can influence a parole board, just as much as those things influence you and me.

Besides, preparation and presentation, there is something very important that distinguishes a preacher from a teacher.  The secret is your spirit.  Your work, whether it is music, art, or speech, must come from your heart.  Teachers impart information.  Preachers speak heart to heart.  Your work must show the flame of the Order of Preachers' charism.


Sunday, October 23, 2022

What is Preaching

                Matthew 28: 19-20 Go therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Holy Spirit, teaching them all that I have commanded you.  And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.

                CCC 132 Therefore, the study of the sacred page’ should be the very soul of sacred theology.  The ministry of the Word, too—pastoral preaching, catechetics, and all forms of Christian instruction…

 St. Dominic requested that his friars be dedicated specifically for preaching, hence their name, “friars preachers.” They are not monks, who do not preach, nor are they diocesan priests, who are pastors.  Friars Preachers are centered on proclaiming the Word of God.
                Jesus Christ asked His apostles to spread His Word.  The Apostles passed the preaching charism on to their successors, the bishops.  Today, the bishops entrust the preaching of the Word, not only to priests but also to those trained to preach, are given a solid faith formation and are dedicated to God’s truth.

                Today’s communication offers different modes of the ministry of the Word.  It’s not just speaking at a pulpit.  The written word is an effective communication tool.  One may write books, poetry, and even blogs.   Editorial cartoons are used, too.  There is an internet newsletter, eLumen, in St. Joseph’s province where one of our Lay Brothers exhibits his work.  Here you see where Mr. Jordi Perez, O.P.,  confronts the sexual abuse scandal  in art and words.

In music we can be lifted to a higher plane of transcendence with music from composers like Charles Gounod’s  famous Ave Maria.  Current music has many Christian artists. 

Art work was once the best preaching method for the common man, hence stained glass windows.  We have sculpture, architecture, and painting.  Isn’t the same true for today?

One thing that is and was true for all kinds of preaching.  Preaching has the power to bring about change. 

Saturday, October 22, 2022

Thursday, October 20, 2022


 Do you think the Globalists are in charge and have manipulated this war between Russia and Ukraine?

Globalists can mean different things to different people.  Those that call themselves Globalists say they are people who care how the economy, politics, culture, and religion, interact with each other.  They foster understanding and peace.

Others, say the opposite.  Globalists are the influential people in the world who are interested in keeping their status and influence.

Some say it is the Globalists who are behind the war in Ukraine.  They support Ukraine and hope to destroy Russia as a global interest.   

Are we just puppets controlled by the Globalists? If so, they are playing a dangerous game.  They are playing with fire.

It's best to leave the planning to God.  At least, we know the end.

Wednesday, October 19, 2022



My granddaughter and I went to a fair today.  We were standing in line to get her face painted but it was too long.  While standing in line I notice a lady sitting across the room at a table.  She had no customers and she had a sign on the table that said "henna."  I knew what that was, so I asked my granddaughter if she would like a beautiful temporary tattoo on her hand, instead of getting her face painted.  She agreed.  She was thrilled with the results.  

Henna is body art.  It is ink made from a small flowering shrub called Henna.  It stains the skin.  It doesn't hurt at all.  My granddaughter said it felt very, very cold.  It goes on like black ink.  Soon the design will raise up to a crust.  Then it flakes off and you see an orange design.  But twenty-four hours latter, the design is dark brown.  The design last for a couple of weeks.  You can wash and swim.  It will just fade away.

People will get a henna design for special occasions.  They're pretty and fun.  

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Where is the Vatican?

 When Cardinal Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan was traveling for his job at the Vatican, he had a Vatican passport. It's considered a bona fide diplomatic passport from the Holy See. Some official authorities think it's funny, both in a humorous and different way.  They've never seen one before.  But it's just an oddity.  However, some places (or I should say people) have never heard of the Vatican and are suspicious.  

"Is this a joke?"

"I never heard of the Holy See."

"Where is this Vatican?"

One time, in Malaysia, the Cardinal had to go sit for quite awhile, while the authorities did some research on the Holy See in Vatican City.  Finally, they concluded, "I know, the Vatican is a former French colony."*

* story from the book, Testimony of Hope The Spiritual Exercises of John Paul II by Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan

Evangelical Hope

 Francis  Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan was born in Vietnam, on April 17, 1917.  He was the oldest of eight children.  He was diligent and studious and rose through the ranks both in studies and in the priesthood. It was when he was appointed him Archbishop of Vadesitana and Coadjutor Archbishop of the Diocese of Sai Gon, that a spotlight highlighted him.  The Vietnamese political authorities considered him a threat and arrested hilm.

In total, Archbishop Van Thuan was in prison for thirteen years, nine of them in solitary confinement.

             Don't you just love this picture.  Note what the Bishop has in his hand.  Look at the table.  

                         He is celebrating Mass, the best that he can, with what he has.

After his release, he went into exile.  In Rome, he was asked to lead a Retreat in 2000.  Eventually, Van Thuan was made a Cardinal.  John Paul II asked him to publish the Spiritual Exercises he gave in his retreat in the year 2000.  The result is the book, Testimony of Hope The Spiritual Exercises of John Paul II by Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan.

This is a book of meditations given by someone who has suffered.  He had suffered beyond what we can imagine, yet he never gave up hope.  What a person to offer a retreat! He imbues his spiritual exercises with hope.  Here and there he gives glimpses of his life in prison, which hammers home the points he was making.  This is called evangelical hope. What witness!  He passes it on to us, in this little testimony.

Sunday, October 16, 2022

What Do You See?


                                       from   Lectionary Comic

This is a funny take from Luke 18: 9-14   At times I am full of pride like the self righteous sheep here in the cartoon.  "Thank God, I am not such and such...whatever."  Thinking that I, myself, did a good thing without God's grace.  It's all my doing.  I earned God's favor because I am me.

Hopefully, I recognize pride, like the second sheep.  At least sometimes, hopefully more often than not, I know that I am nothing and could do nothing without the grace of God.  "Lord, keep me humble.  Use me to do your will.  I thank You for everything."

Friday, October 14, 2022

 After reading Volume 1, I knew the routine of Volume 2. This is prison, after all. I don't think Cardinal Pell has to worry about being institutionalized, the prison life would be enjoyable if it were freely chosen. It's a retreat to get closer to God.

Cardinal Pell amazes me in that his first impulse was to pray for people. There're screamers and bangers, even the inmate who spit on him, he interiorly lifts them up to God. Who does that? Of course everyone does that eventually, but that's not a knee-jerk reaction. The cardinal is still upbeat and expects the truth will eventually win. Not only is his faith strong, so is his compassion. He has never said anything bad about the guards, or the judges, the juries, and even his accuser.
In Volume II, the cardinal is beginning to suspect that he was set up. His job in Rome led him to get closer to finding the stench in Vatican Banking. Having him accused of sex crimes, certainly got him out of the way. We'll have to read Volume 3, to see what happens.

A Mother's Love


 Andre Dubus III has written another excellent book to drive me crazy.  Like his first book, House of Sand and Fog, The Garden of Last Days has four strands of the story running parallel and alternating.  Just when you get emotionally involved with one character, the author returns to another narrative in the story.  Aaarrrrggggghhhhh!!!!  

Dubus is a master of getting you emotionally involved.  You get inside the characters' heads and understand  perfectly what and why they do what they do.  You root for them all.  You want them all to have happy endings, especially April and Franny.

The story begins with April's usual babysitter for Franny, canceling out.  April is a stripper.  She has to bring Franny to work with her.  Franny is only three, so she thinks her mom is just a dancer.

The babysitter is Jean and she loves Franny so much, she wants her for her own.

Then there's AJ who has a restraining order on him, for hitting his wife.  He has anger management problems.  When he sees Franny wonder out of the strip club, he is reminded of his little son and decides to help her.  He takes her to look for help but everywhere he thinks of, would accuse him of kidnapping.  He's not thinking straight; he's drunk.

The last story is about Bassam.  He is one of the terrorist who crashes into the twin towers.  He goes to April's club as a last fling before he kills himself in the attack.  He lusts after April and as the reader, you fear he is going to do something bad.  Only, it turns out not to be anything against April and Franny.  

I've tried skimming the stories to get back to the character I was interested in, but there's always something missing.  The best way to read The Garden of the Last Days is the set your mind to follow the paralegal stories as they are written.  Have patience; you will be rewarded.

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Missing Chris Forever

 One of my best friends died a few days ago.  Chris was my soul mate.  She's been sick for quite a while.  One time, when she was gone to recuperate for a long time, I wrote this poem.


Missing Chris

Happy is he who find a friend and he who speaks to attentive ears. Sirach 25:9 
My soul mate, Chris would help with my mess,
over spinach artichoke dip, nachos,
ice tea, girl-talk, dope slaps, and laughter;
deftly would your perspective fix my problem;
snap smooth wrinkled excuses and cobwebbed thoughts,
as we share late night secrets and pray for grace.

However, now she has died.  She is free from suffering in this vale of tears.  That leaves me aching.  I wrote this today.  Still missing Chris.  

Missing Chris

Twice this morning I went to text you
about a thought or two, I knew
you would enjoy.  But then.....

Then my mind halted
and I erased my words.

Of course, I know it's necessary to have an ending before you can have a beginning.

But love doesn't end.

That's proof of God, you'd say.

Life goes on for both of us.  Mine is here and yours is there.

But Chris, I can't text you there.
Sure you can.  No words are necessary
when you speak from your heart.


Tuesday, October 11, 2022


 An ombrellino looks like a fancy umbrella. In fact, it is. It is used to showcase what is underneath it.  Hence it is used to be held over the Eucharist, carried in procession. 

Basilicas have an ombrellino in one of their pulpits.  It is closed, unless the pope is there. The basilica, IMHO, is just showing off that they're so important that the pope visits them.  The real reason is that a basilica is the largest church in the area and hence big enough to hold the crowd.

                                                    From the blog, Liturgical Arts Journal

Monday, October 10, 2022

David's Patience


LECTIO:                                                                                                                                             2 Sm 5:1-3
In those days, all the tribes of Israel came to David in Hebron and said:
"Here we are, your bone and your flesh.
In days past, when Saul was our king,
it was you who led the Israelites out and brought them back.
And the LORD said to you,
'You shall shepherd my people Israel
and shall be commander of Israel.'"
When all the elders of Israel came to David in Hebron,
King David made an agreement with them there before the LORD,
and they anointed him king of Israel.


David was leading the Israelites even when Saul was still their king.  Then Saul died they came to David and said "You shall shepherd...and be commander of Israel."  Note that they begin by pointing out their kinship to David, "...we are your bone and flesh."  This descriptive phrase is also in Genesis 2:23, where Adam says Eve is "bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh."  David is king by popular demand.

I have to remember David's patience.  He had to wait to be crowned king over all Israel, even though God promised that he would be king of Israel.  He was crowned king first, by Samuel, but Saul's jealously caused David to run and hide.  David wasn't officially king 30 + years, later. He had to be prepared.  Maybe not getting what I want is just a preparation period.  I just have to trust God.


Lord, I pray for patience.  I need to trust that Your timing is best and your decisions are for my own good.  If David believed and trusted, then I hope I can too.


Fear and worry are paralyzing, but faith and trust in God negate fear and worry.


 Remember David's patience and trust in the Lord.

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