31 May 2007

Some vast SOVII-wing conspiracy

AP Photo/L'Osservatore Romano

Seems the folks at Spirit of Vatican II have sent a spy out, prowling about the world, seeking the ruin of less than par SOVII blogs. My poor blog was rated PH, C and T. Which stands for Phariseeism, Clericalism, Traditionalism.

My rebuttal:
PH - Heck, I'm not even Jewish, so how can I be a Pharisee?
C - Likewise, I'm not a priest so how can I be "clerical," unless you are trying to oppress and subjugate me by assuming I'm a secretary.
T - Ummmm.

One day, I hope to have all the letters of the alphabet.

Visit SOVII, cum grano salis.
Verbum sapienti sat est.
(There, how's that for funny language?)

Our loss, their gain

It's that time of the year again. Priests getting reassigned as new priests are ordained. The ordinations are a blessing. Saying good-bye to a priest you've just gotten to know is hard.

2007 Graduating Class of St. Paul Seminary

The parishioners at St. Agnes were just getting to know Father Randall Kasel. Now we learn Father Kasel will become Parochial Administrator of St. Charles in Bayport, MN, on July 2. I haven't heard who is going to replace him at St. Agnes.

Father Kasel is a wonderful priest, strongly reminiscent of his predecessor. I didn't even have the chance to get to know him, other than in the confessional. I will miss his, "God loves you VERY much," as he gave absolution. St. Charles is getting a good priest and our prayers go with him. You will be missed, Father.


Yesterday would've been my father's 83rd birthday. He died 7 years ago, Tuesday...just short of his 76th birthday.

He was a bull in a china shop, but also one of the most compassionate people I have ever known. He didn't gossip about priests who didn't behave as they should or messed with the Mass. No, my father greeted those priests in the sacristy after Mass with both barrels of his hot German temper. And, he prayed for them. I was always told not to criticize priests as they belong to Our Lady, they are Hers...and my father would remind those priests of that in very clear, often loud, terms.

My father attended daily Mass. Was a Third Order Carmelite who wore the Brown Scapular, said the Rosary and the Divine Office daily. He prayed constantly, especially for the Poor Souls.

So, dad, with Our Lady's promises held deep in my heart, I am comforted that you died in Her protection. Rest in peace.

29 May 2007

Apparitions - Our Lady of the Roses Revisited

"In the last days, false visionaries will arise like a swarm of flies from hell to try to obscure the true apparitions with false ones." Marie Julie Jahenny of La Fraudais, France, Stigmatist, 1882

A few posts ago, Terry of Abbey Roads commented that my quote from Our Lady of the Roses was actually a condemned apparition. A thousand mea culpas...it is condemned, though I found plenty of websites that present much wailing and gnashing of teeth to the contrary. The bottom line is clear, it is condemned. Eerily enough, many of the apparitions mentioned below that are condemned, have websites by seemingly very faithful and devoted people, dedicated to the promotion of various apparitions. Even more eerie are the websites that seem to be fan clubs of apparitions, listing many known condemned apparations with oodles of information about the sitings, but no mention of the condemnation.

THE FINE PRINT (aka Nota Bene)
What is true about the internet in general, is true here. There is a LOT of information out there on this topic, much to decipher, numerous places of conflicting information and no easy one-stop-shop on the bottom line about the apparitions. Proceed with caution. I have tried my best to be correct and compare a variety of sources and look for the documentation. I have no stake in the validity or not of any of these apparitions. Just an attempt to collect information on a confusing topic. My advice is to stick to the known and approved apparitions. These apparations contain much to ponder and meditate on. Don't confuse the issue with other apparitions that aren't approved or are condemned.

(After much looking and comparing sites, I was blessed to finally find a site that pretty much summed things up in one spot: www.miraclehunter.com If you have more interest in this topic and want to cut to the chase, I would suggest starting there. It will save you wading through a lot of information. Much of the information on the approved apparitions is from that site.)

Not meant to be all inclusive by any means...refer to links at bottom of post for listings of apparitions. The lists are very lengthy and too long to post here.

Our Lady of the Roses (Mary Help of Mothers) - Condemned by Bishop Francis J. Mugavero

Necedah, Wisconsin - Condemned early on, recently also by Bishop Burke

Garabandal, Spain - Condemned by Jose Vilaplana Bishop of Santander

Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzegovina - Condemned by the Bishops Pavao Zanic (1985) and Ratko Peric (1993, 1997)

Please, don't send me rants about these rulings, especially if it's just comtemptible ramblings against the ineptitude of a particular bishop. I'm just the messenger, not the judge. If the bishops have condemned them and/or the Church, it's enough for me to steer clear, especially when you consider you need to be obedient to what the Church rules. Don't persist with condemned apparitions.

I apologize for any errors.

Some interesting things I learned:
- I have a beautiful statue of the Blessed Mother on my stairway. The base says, Maria Rosa Mystica. Never thought about it much as I inherited the statue. Turns out this is also a condemned apparition (1947 Montichiari, Italy, by Pierina Guilli, Discouraged/Condemned) Now what do I do with the statue?
- Friends have been telling me about Garabandal for years. Trying to get me to subscribe to the magazine, even sending me free trial subscriptions...twice. Now I learn that Garabandal is also condemned.
- I had heard of Father Gobbi, who had started the Marian Movement of Priests. His allegations of inner locutions, etc., are not approved by the Church and are not considered the words of Our Lady.
- There are many, many apparitions; many not ruled on by the Church. Who knew?

Be careful out there.

Now for the good news...

Dong Lu, China (1900)

NB: Very few sites mention this approval and I could find no mention of it on the Vatican website. Not denying its validity, just didn't find anything to document it.
Title: Our Lady of China
Investigated: N/A
First Apparition: 1900
Approved: 1932 (Pope Pius XI approved it as an official Marian Shrine)
Last Apparition: 1900
Visionaries: Thousands
Number of Apparitions: 1
Miracles & Signs: 300+ miraculous cures
Summary: The Virgin Mary appeared as a beautiful lady in the skies when Catholics implored Her to save them from their enemies and their city from destruction during the Boxer Rebellion. In thanksgiving for Our Lady’s protection over the city of Donglu, a beautiful church was built in her honour. It was meant to serve as a constant reminder to the people of Mary’s loving and motherly protection.

Fatima, Portugal (1917)
Title: Our Lady of Fatima/Our Lady of the Rosary
Investigated: 1919
First Apparition: May 13, 1917
Approved: October 13, 1930
Last Apparition: May 13, 1917
Visionaries: Lucia dos Santos (9), Jacinta Marto (8), Francisco Marto (7)
Number of Apparitions: 6
Miracles & Signs: Dancing Sun, Healings, Conversion of Russia, Incorruptible body of Jacinta.
Summary: While tending sheep, Lucia de Santos and her two cousins, Francisco and Jacinta Marto, reported six apparitions of Mary, who identified herself as "Our Lady of the Rosary." Mary urged prayer of the rosary, penance for the conversion of sinners and consecration of Russia to her Immaculate Heart.

Beauraing, Belgium (1932)
Title: The Virgin with the Golden Heart
Investigated: 1949
First Apparition: Nov 29, 1932
Approved: July 2, 1949 by the Bishop of Namur
Last Apparition: Jan 3, 1933
Visionaries: Fernande Voisin (15), Andree Degeimbre (14), Gilberte Voisin (11), Gilberte Degeimbre (9)
Number of Apparitions: 33
Miracles & Signs: Miraculous cures, fireball
Summary: Mary is believed to have come 33 times to the playground of a conTvent school to five children. Identifying herself as "the Immaculate Virgin" and "Mother of God, Queen of Heaven," she called for prayer for the conversion of sinners.

Banneaux, Belgium (1933)
Title: The Virgin of the Poor
Investigated: 1935-37
First Apparition: January 15, 1933
Approved: March 19th, 1942 Bishop Kerkhofs of Liege; Aug 22, 1949
Last Apparition: March 2, 1933
Visionaries: Mariette Beco
Number of Apparitions: 8
Summary: In a garden behind the Beco family's cottage, the Blessed Mother is said to have appeared to Mariette Beco (age 11) eight times. Calling herself the "Virgin of the Poor," Mary promised to intercede for the poor, the sick and the suffering.

Akita, Japan (1973)
Title: Our Lady of Akita
Investigated: 1973
First Apparition: July 6, 1973
Approved: June 1988 by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger CDF
Last Apparition: October 13, 1973
Visionaries: Agnes Sasagawa
Number of Apparitions: 3
Miracles & Signs: Bleeding Statue, Stigmata
Summary: Sister Agnes Sasagawa of the Handmaids of the Eucharist received 101 messages emanating from a bleeding wooden statue.

Kibeho, Rwanda (1981)
Title: "Nyina wa Jambo" (Mother of the Word)
Investigated: April 1982
First Apparition: Nov 28, 1981
Approved: June 29, 2001 (Bishop Augustin Misago of Gikongoro)
Last Apparition: Nov 28, 1989
Visionaries: Alphonsine Mumureke (17), Nathalie Mukamazimpaka (20), and Marie Claire Mukangango (21)
Number of Apparitions: Many
Summary: The apparitions began in November 1981 when six young girls and one boy claimed to see the Blessed Virgin Mary and Jesus. But only the visions of the first three -- 17-year-old Alphonsine, 20-year-old Nathalie, and 21-year-old Marie Claire -- have received Bishop Misago's solemn approval. Because there were reservations about the other four visionaries, and the supposed visions of Jesus, Bishop Misago didn't confirm the authenticity of either those visions or visionaries.

These don't have full Church approval, but have been approved by a local bishop
Amsterdam, Netherlands (1945)
Title: Our Lady of All Nations
Investigated: ?
First Apparition: March 25, 1945
Approved: May 31, 2002 by Bishop Jozef Marianus Punt of Haarlem
Last Apparition: May 31, 1959
Visionaries: Ida Peederman
Number of Apparitions: 56
Notes: Negative judgement was given by the bishop of Haarlem on May 7, 1956, confirmed in 1957 and 1972. Worship authorized by Mgr H. Bomers, bishop of Haarlem, on May 31, 1996.
Summary: During a series of 56 apparitions, lasting 14 years, prophecies were given to Ida Peederman along with an image of the Blessed Mother and a prayer. The revelations emphasize the importance of the Eucharist and portray in detail the events will bring about the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart, most importantly the declaration of the final Marian dogma of Mary as The Lady of All Nations: Coredemptrix, Mediatrix, and Advocate.

Zeitun, Egypt (1968)
Title: Our Lady of Light
Investigated: 1968
First Apparition: April 2, 1968
Approved: May 4, 1968 by Pope of Coptic Orthodox Church and Local Catholic Bishop
Last Apparition: 1971
Visionaries: Millions
Number of Apparitions: Many
Miracles & Signs: Accompanying objects (Doves, Stars and Glowing Balls of Light, Cross, Incense, Clouds), Healings, Conversions
Summary: Our Lady reportedly appeared in Zeitoun, Egypt hovering above Saint Mark's Coptic Church for a span of three years. She appeared on many occasions especially at night, and sometimes she was accompanied by white doves. The apparitions attracted large crowds up to 250,000 people including Christians, Jews, and Moslems. The apparitions were photographed, filmed and broadcast on Egyptian TV. An estimated 40 million people witnessed the events.

Betania, Venezuela (1976)
Title: Reconciler of People and Nations
Investigated: 1984
First Apparition: March 25, 1976
Approved: Nov 21, 1987 by Bishop Pio Bello Ricardo
Last Apparition: December 8, 1989
Visionaries: Maria Esperanza
Number of Apparitions: 30
Miracles & Signs: Many cures, bleeding Host, stigmata of Maria Esperanza
Summary: Maria Esperanza of Betania, Venezuela witnessed 31 apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary over the course of 15 years. The Virgin called herself the "Reconciler of People and Nations" and warned of impending war and suffering. Many visitors have come to the site, reporting numerous miracles and signs. On one occasion in 1984, over 100 people claimed to have witnessed a public apparition of the Virgin.

Cuapa, Nicaragua (1980)
Investigated: 1981
First Apparition: April 15, 1980
Approved: Nov 13, 1982 by Bishop Pablo Antonio Vega
Last Apparition: Oct 13, 1980
Visionaries: Bernardo Martinez
Number of Apparitions: 4+
Notes: After the initial 4 apparitions, the Virgin reportedly subsequently appeared in later years with messages of the destruction of atheistic communism and the whole world. She also requested the propagation of the devotion to the shoulder wounds of Christ.
Summary: Church sacristan Bernardo Martinez entered an old chapel and observed a supernatural light illuminating from a statue of the Blessed Virgin. The Virgin later appeared clothed in white and asked for the daily Rosary with Biblical citations and have the First Saturday Devotions renewed. She also warned of future sufferings for Nicaragua if the people didn't change.

San Nicolas, Argentina (1983)
Title: Our Lady of the Rosary
Investigated: April 1985
First Apparition: Sept 25, 1983
Approved: Nov 14, 1990, by the Bishop of San Nicolas, Monsignor Domingo Castagna
Last Apparition: Feb 11, 1990
Visionaries: Gladys de Motta
Number of Apparitions: 1816
Notes: She reportedly additionally received 78 messages from Jesus Christ. Numerous healings, including the cure of a boy with a brain tumor, have been documented.
Summary: An ordinary housewife, a mother and grandmother who had no formal education and no knowledge off the Bible or theology claimed that she was visited by the Blessed Mother daily for a period of over 6 years.

If you are a curious sort, you should check out the listings of all the apparitions. It is mind-boggling. Here are some links.

Miracle Hunter

Catholic Forum - Apparitions

U of Dayton

There are many more out there.

Mount Athos - Our Lady's Garden

The legend of Mount Athos is that the Blessed Virgin Mary, accompanied by St. John, were sailing in the Mediterranean on their way to Cyprus to visit Lazarus. They were blown off course and they landed on Mount Athos. The Blessed Mother walked ashore and was struck by the beauty of the mountain and asked her Son for it to be her garden. A voice from Heaven said, "Let this place be your inheritance and your garden, a paradise and a haven of salvation for those seeking to be saved." From that moment the mountain was consecrated as the garden of the Mother of God and was out of bounds to all other women.

(Note: Women are completely barred from the peninsula. Reportedly, even female domestic animals, with the exception of cats, as well as chickens which lay eggs that provide the fresh egg yolk needed for the paint used in iconography, are forbidden. If you're caught breaking this rule, you can spend two years in jail.)

The peninsula's rugged landscape is dotted with Eastern Orthodox monasteries. The island, its monasteries, and its location are all beautiful and breathtaking.

From Wikipedia:
Mount Athos is a mountain and a peninsula in Macedonia, northern Greece, called in Greek Ayion Oros or Agion Oros, transliterated often as Hagion Oros, or in English, "Holy Mountain." Politically it is known in Greece as the Autonomous Monastic State of the Holy Mountain. This World Heritage Site is home to 20 Eastern Orthodox monasteries and forms a self-governed monastic state within the sovereignty of the Republic of Greece. Spiritually, Mount Athos comes under the direct jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.

The peninsula, the easternmost "leg" of the larger Chalcidice peninsula, protrudes into the Aegean Sea for some 60 km at a width between 7 to 12 km and covers an area of about 390 km², with the actual Mount Athos and its steep, densely forested slopes reaching up to 2,033 m. The seas around the end of the peninsula can be dangerous.

Though land-linked, it is accessible only by boat. The number of visitors is restricted and all are required to get a special entrance permit before entering Mount Athos. Only males are allowed entrance into Mount Athos and Orthodox Christians take precedence in the permit issuance procedure. Only males over the age of 18, who are members of the Eastern Orthodox Church are allowed to live on Athos. There are religious guards, who are not monks, that assist the monks, and any other people not monks are required to live on the peninsula's capital, Karyes. The current population numbers around 2,250.

On the island, which contains some of the oldest surviving monastic communities in the world, there are 20 monasteries of which 17 are Greek, one Russian, one Serbian, and one Bulgarian. In addition to the monasteries, there are twelve Skites (similar to monasteries but much smaller), a large number of Kellia (large farm houses), Kalyves (smaller houses), Kathismata (small houses for a single monk) and Hesychasteria (hermitages or caves in desolate cliff faces, for the most austere hermits).

During the centuries, three forms of monastic life evolved: coenobitic, idiorrhythmic, and solitary.

"The coenobitic rule is characterised by discipline, and the monks come together for worship and meals. In the coenobitic monasteries, the monks rise an hour after midnight to pray, alone in their cells at first and then all together in the main church, the katholikon, where they remain until daybreak. They then eat together in the refectory. The meal is followed by prayers, and the monks withdraw to occupy themselves with the tasks assigned to them by the monastery. No-one is exempt from work, not even the hegumen (abbot). After midday, the monks sleep or rest. In the late afternoon, they gather in the church again for the evening liturgy (esperinos), and they then go to the refectory, if it is not a fast day. The last liturgy of the day follows (apodeipnon). The monastery gates are closed, and the monks retire to their cells, where they read, pray, and sleep.

The idiorrhythmic way of life came about as a result of the Ottoman conquest and the attendant imposition of harsh taxes on the monks, as also the establishment of the sketae. In the sketae and the idiorrhythmic monasteries, the monks organise their own time, dividing it between prayer and work in accordance with their personal needs. They come together for the Divine Liturgy only on Sundays and feast days; on ordinary days, each fulfils his religious obligations in the chapel in his own kalyva, or hut.

The solitary life is the most difficult of all. The monks who have chosen to be hermits live in complete solitude in caves or rudimentary dwellings on precipitous slopes or cliff sides. They eat as much as they need to stay alive, work to keep their minds alert, and devote all their time to prayer. Occasionally, they go to the nearby monasteries to receive communion."

The island is steep, beautiful, secluded, and filled with thousands of relics and much-treasured icons.

"The architectural structure of the monasteries and the coenobitic cloisters consists of a cluster of sequential high buildings, which enclose an inner courtyard. These buildings were also a defensive shield and give the monasteries of Athos peninsula their characteristic castle-like appearance. There are also towers with embrasures. The portal is usually tunnel-shaped for defence purposes, and is closed by heavy iron-sheeted wooden gates. Outside and near the main entrance, there is usually a roomy kiosk with a great view. Near the centre of the paved interior courtyard is the most important part of the monastery, the central church that is called "katholikon", and opposite, to the west, there is the refectory, called "trapeza". Other basic parts of a monastery are the Assembly room and the administration offices, the guesthouse, the monks' quarters, the library, the sacristy. In front of the west entrance of the main church, there exists "Fiali", an ornate marble washstand containing holy water. Within the courtyard, there is a fountain with fresh water. Little chapels are interspersed at various points of the monastery.

The "katholikon" of the Holy Mountain is a cross-shaped building, which, besides the niche of the sanctum, possesses two additional wide niches to the north and south for the choristers. Four pillars support the high central dome. To the west side of the church, between the narthex and the outer peristyle, another room has been added, called "liti", where the "liti" service is performed.

Each monastery or cloister has a small harbour so as to receive supplies by sea. It is called "arsanas" (actually coming from the Latin word "arsenal") and is often fortified by a strong, high tower.

Inside the churches, icon-stands, sacristies and libraries of the monasteries and cloisters, relics and treasures of inestimable value are kept, of devotional, artistic, historical or national importance and for the pilgrims most of them are difficult to access for security purposes."

For an article on the response of the monks of Mount Athos to B16's wish for Greek Orthodox and RC Ecumenism.

For a virtual visit to the island and its monasteries, go here.

28 May 2007

Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?

I got a taste of just how "uncool" and out-of-touch I am this past Memorial Day weekend. My high school-aged nephew has a "chocolate phone," except it looked strawberry colored to me. What do I know? I'm old. I don't even own a cell phone. My nephew spent the day taking pictures of things around our cabin with it, but sadly, he wasn't able to text message friends or anything...cell phones don't work in our backwards backwoods cabin. Any time anyone wanted to know the time, they didn't look at a watch, they pulled out their phones.

Our cabin doesn't have a phone, not even one with a cord. We don't have TV either. It's not that the cabin is without running water, plumbing or electricity. We have a big satellite dish (circa 1980s), but that broke years ago and even if it was working, it isn't set up for digital so we wouldn't get any channels anyway. We just haven't moved into this century.

I took the kids over to my husband's aunt's cabin for a boat ride on their new pontoon. It has a GPS, depth finder that alerts you when the fishes swim by, stereo, and iPOD interface. My husband's uncle had his iPOD hooked in and was playing his eclectic mix (Iron Butterfly's, In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida and Rod Stewart's, Forever Young right after each other) through the stereo system while we got a ride around the lake. The pontoon also has a wine rack and pop-up enclosed toilet. A cooler of some food and you could live on the thing!!

Later that night, we had a campfire at our cabin. Hubby's uncle had his iPOD with him again. It had two dozen movies on it and 100 songs and still wasn't half full. The sound quality was great and so was the picture, albeit it was only a few inches big. As it was passed around the campfire, I couldn't even figure out how to get the iPOD to load a simple movie for me. Believe me, I tried.

In my "past life," I was tuned in to all that was cutting edge. In the four years I have been staying at home with my kids, it seems the only things I'm tuned into now are Sesame Street and Barney. I play with blocks and dirt. I am so this side of cool.

Please, don't tell Bill Gates or Steve Wozniak. I think there are rules about these things.

25 May 2007

Bumper sticker

Some of you might have seen this one, some of you might actually have it on your car. But, seeing as I don't get out much, it was new to me.

Seen at the Sam's Club in Eagan (of all places!)

Be a real revolutionary
Practice your religion

Maybe this would be a good one to distribute this weekend at the Cathedral. Would make a better sash then some you'll see.

24 May 2007

Never found the treasure

Thursday's Pioneer Press had an article about "Santa Dave," who was a long-time, seriously fanatic St. Paul Winter Carnival Medallion seeker and all-around good guy. Searching for the treasure has been an "obsession" for several of my aunts, cousins and myself for decades. One of my aunts has every Winter Carnival button ever made. We have books on the parks, get the clues as soon as they come out, scout the parks endlessly and trudge through heaps of snow hoping to find the medallion. Like many other medallion seekers, some of my relatives take time off from work to search.

Aside from being a bit self-serving in publishing an article about how they, the PP, are giving one of the sacred medallions to Santa Dave's friends to place in his casket, it is a sweet gesture. The title is: For all time, he'll hold the treasure he sought. If that's the "treasure" he sought, he's only going to be able to cash that in for ten grand and I doubt St. Peter takes bribes.

Lately, every time someone is killed (a tragedy, completely) they make impromptu shrines at the site filled with flowers and cards and letters. Everyone stands around crying and carrying on, repeating over and over about how good the person was. Maybe that makes the survivors feel good, but what about the dead? What good is a medallion gonna do ya?

The point is, when someone dies, pull yourself together for their sake. Get busy. Start praying. When my father died, I told everyone to forget the flowers, don't fill the church with flowers, spend your money having masses said. Keep having masses said, keep praying. Purgatory is real and it isn't just a layover on the way to Heaven. The Poor Souls need our prayers more than they need a medallion in their pocket.

Rest in peace, Santa Dave.

Communion in the hand & the Real Presence

"Wherever I go in the whole world, the thing that makes me the saddest is watching people receive Communion in the hand."
Mother Teresa of Calcutta

After reading other blogs about Rainbow sashers,
dress at Mass, etc., I thought I would get cranky about something that troubles me: Communion in the hand.

I am so grateful to the priests and the parishoners of St. Agnes for standing strong about how you should be attired at Mass, not just because it's a honor you should certainly afford your God and Creator, but because He has condescended to come to us in Holy Communion. Got that, HOLY Communion. Not Happy Hour. Just being in the presence of God should create a sense of awe within us, a sense of the supernatural, a sense of the All Powerful. Not just movie star awe, not just world leader powerful, but He who created you and loves you more than you will ever comprehend.

Because of that you should come to Mass properly disposed: soul, attitude, and dress. It's not too hard to find what time Mass starts, not too hard to find a parish offering Confession, not too hard to find a mall that sells a pair of dress pants. If we put as much effort into getting ourselves prepped for Mass as we do for a first date or a football game, people might actually start to think that we believed that God was truly present in our Masses. I can't even count the number of times my Protestant friends have said that we Catholics are just like them; our "services" are just like theirs. Contrare mon frere, we are different, that's the point.

We are different because God is present. Not just present in the "where two or more are gathered" sense. That same Jesus that died on Calvary, died to save your soul and mine, is present in the Holy Eucharist. If you ponder that for just a moment, it should help with many of the problems mentioned above. Trouble is, in some cases, sadly even with some priests, they don't believe it is the Real Presence.

Here's what that good Protestant revolutionary, Martin Bucer, believed:
"Every superstition of the Roman Antichrist is to be detested... I have no doubt that this usage of not putting these sacraments in the hands of the faithful has been introduced out of a double superstition; firstly, the false honor they wished to show this sacrament, and secondly the wicked arrogance of priests claiming greater holiness than that of the people of Christ, by virtue of the oil of consecration. I should wish that pastors and teachers of the people should be commanded that each is faithfully to teach the people that it is superstitious and wicked to think...that the hands of the ministers are holier than the hands of the laity; so that it would be wicked, or less fitting, as was formerly wrongly believed by the ordinary folk, for the laity to receive these sacraments in the hand: and therefore that the indications of this wicked belief be removed-as that the ministers may handle the sacraments, but not allow the laity to do so, and instead put the sacraments into the mouth—which is not only foreign to what was instituted by the Lord but offensive to human reason. In that way good men will be easily brought to the point of all receiving the sacred symbols in the hand..."

That almost sounds like the pap I hear from some Catholics.

In military terms, we need to "get squared away." We need to start believing in the Real Presence then we might start acting like it's the Real Presence.

That brings me to communion in the hand. From what I understand, and correct me if I'm wrong here, folks, is that communion in the hand started out from disobedience and even when approved it was a dispensation that wasn't to be a permanent thing.

The practice of Communion in the hand was first introduced in Belgium by Cardinal Suenens in disobedience to the rubrics of the Holy See. Not wishing to publicly rebuke a brother bishop, Pope Paul VI decided to lift the ban prohibiting Communion in the hand, leaving the decision to individual bishops. The late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, then president of the United States NCCB, initiated two unsuccessful attempts to introduce Communion in the hand in 1975 and 1976. In the spring of 1977, the bishops’ vote again fell short of the required two-thirds majority. Nevertheless, for the first time ever bishops in absentia were polled by mail after the conference meeting; subsequently the necessary votes materialized and the measure was declared passed. Several canon lawyers have stated categorically that this procedure was illegal. An interview with Bishop Blanchette in the National Catholic Register (June 12, 1977) confirms that Communion in the hand was unlawfully introduced into the United States.

According to a lengthy explaination at EWTN's website, communion in the hand has been approved, but is to be considered an option. I don't really find it optional in many parishes.

St. Agnes has retained its communion rail. People receive the Sacrament on their tongues. The action is to be passive on the part of the recipient...God comes to you, not you take God and place Him in your mouth. No other church that I've been in nearby makes it possible to receive the Holy Eucharist in this manner. It's standing or nothing. Fortunately, I have young ones that I carry up to Communion with me, making it pretty difficult to receive in the hand. You should see the looks on the EM's faces. Just how are they going to get that "wafer" in my hands? I've had them look at me like, "Well, what do you want me to do?" Carrying the kids up is pretty much just a ruse; my way of getting Communion on the tongue. Once they realize that I'm not setting my kid down, they timidly place the "wafer" in my mouth, careful not to touch my tongue because that's just eewwwwww. But, what about THEIR hands touching the Holy Eucharist then placing it in my mouth. To me, that's EEEEWWWWWWWW! It's bad on several levels. They're not the priest, they didn't just wash their hands and many (not all) seem to get more of a kick out of being the ones distributing the Holy Eucharist, then being aware of the Real Presence.

I won't even talk about all the abuses that can come about with communion in the hand. Am sure the Devil is laughing at how easy we make it for people to take the Body of Christ and use it for the unthinkable.

Some folks going to Communion aren't much better than those flippantly distributing it. Instead of concentrating, or even thinking, about the Sacrament they are about to receive, they are looking around, winking at people they know, paying no attention to God. They receive the Holy Eucharist with indifference, slap the "wafer" into their mouths, and don't bless themselves upon receiving. Once back in their seat, they don't kneel, they don't pray, they don't seem changed. On the other hand, there are some very saintly people I have seen going to Communion. They look like they are so happy they are going to cry, they look sorry for their sins, they feel unworthy to receive. I hope to get to that point some day, where receiving the Holy Eucharist is a rapture, pure ecstasy.

Even the Protestants got it right on this one (despite not having the Real Presence,) it is a Sacrament.

"Communion in the hand has not been, and will not be accepted by Heaven. This is a sacrilege in the eyes of the Eternal Father, and must not be continued, for you only add to your punishment when you continue on in the ways that have been found to be unpleasing to the Eternal Father." - Our Lady of the Roses, June 30, 1984

23 May 2007

Prayers needed

Please pray for two of my aunts.

My Aunt Marie, who is 81, just found out she has breast cancer.
My Aunt Rita, who is 83, just had a stroke and isn't able to speak and has a hard time recognizing people.

Both ladies are spry and vibrant, at least Aunt Rita was until the stroke happened. Both are strong Catholics; Aunt Marie was the church organist for decades and Aunt Rita raised a brood of eight.

It was the Feast of St. Rita yesterday. She is one of the patron saints of impossible causes. St. Rita, please intercede with my petitions.

Clerihew time

A few posts ago I mentioned writing a clerihew. Below is my humble attempt. Don't know if it strictly adheres to the rules of a clerihew, but I think Chesterton would approve of my freshman efforts.

Archbishop Nienstedt
wasn't aware at the outset
the much touted "Minnesota Nice"
could be as cold as glacial ice.

Remember, the conference is in a few weeks!

22 May 2007

Unitarian Universalist Catholic?

I had a boss and a friend in college who were Unitarians. Being a cradle Catholic, it is kind of alien to me, so I checked it out at www.beliefnet.com
I think I'm a Unitarian Universalist Catholic...maybe.

The below is shamelessly borrowed from beliefnet.com and are the beliefs of Unitarian Universalists.

• Belief in Deity
Very diverse beliefs--Unitarian/Universalists welcome all deity beliefs as well as nontheistic beliefs. Some congregations are formed for those who share a common belief, e.g. Christianity.
I believe in a deity. So far, so good.

• Incarnations
Very diverse beliefs, including belief in no incarnations, or that all are the embodiment of God. Some believe Christ is God's Son, or not Son but "Wayshower."
I have a hard time understanding what they are saying here (Wayshower?), but I believe in an Incarnation, so good to go on this one, too.

• Origin of Universe and Life
Diverse beliefs, but most believe in the Bible as symbolic and that natural processes account for origins.
Hmmmm. May have a problem here, but my belief that the Bible is more than symbolic certainly falls into the "diverse beliefs" category.

• After Death
Diverse beliefs, but most believe that heaven and hell are not places but are symbolic. Some believe heaven and hell are states of consciousness either in life or continuing after death; some believe in reincarnation; some believe that afterlife is nonexistent or not known or not important, as actions in life are all that matter.
I believe in Heaven and Hell and life after death, still in the "diverse beliefs" bin.

• Why Evil?
Most do not believe that humanity inherited original sin from Adam and Eve or that Satan actually exists. Most believe that God is good and made people inherently good but also with free will and an imperfect nature that leads some to immoral behavior. Diverse beliefs. Some believe wrong is committed when people distance themselves from God. Some believe in “karma,” that what goes around comes around. Some believe wrongdoing is a matter of human nature, psychology, sociology, etc.
Original sin, yep. Satan exists. Again, I seem to fall into the "diverse beliefs" category.

• Salvation
Some believe in salvation through faith in God and Jesus Christ, along with doing good works and doing no harm to others. Many believe all will be saved, as God is good and forgiving. Some believe in reincarnation and the necessity to eliminate personal greed or to learn all of life’s lessons before achieving enlightenment or salvation. For some, the concepts of salvation or enlightenment are irrelevant or disbelieved.
Hey, we agree on somethings here, but we ain't all gonna to be saved!

• Undeserving Suffering
Diverse beliefs. Most Unitarians do not believe that Satan causes suffering. Some believe suffering is part of God’s plan, will, or design, even if we don’t immediately understand it. Some don’t believe in any spiritual reasons for suffering, and most take a humanistic approach to helping those in need.
Still can't rule me out.

• Contemporary Issues
The Unitarian Universalist Association’s stance is to protect the personal right to choose abortion. Other contemporary views include working for equality for homosexuals, gender equality, a secular approach to divorce and remarriage, working to end poverty, promoting peace and nonviolence, and environmental protection.
Darn, I was so close. You got me at "right to choose abortion" and then all the subsequent drivel.

I guess when one gets to pick and choose what one believes, he can pick and choose his own moral system (or lack of it) and requirements for salvation (or lack of need for salvation). Sorry for the non-gender-inclusive language. Guess I'm just not cut out to be a UU. Too many requirements.

My first Meme

As most folks know, I'm new here, so this is my first Meme. Ray was so kind and thoughtful to tag me...not! Other Memes just ask objective questions, this one takes a little work. Here goes nothing.

The rules, posted per instruction:
Here are the rules according to whomever likes to make up rules: • Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves. • People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules. • At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names. • Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

My meme:

1. What do you hope to accomplish with your blog?
Father Altier, in his homilies, used to talk about people who just want to make the bottom rung of Heaven. He said you should try to make the highest rung possible, because if you shoot for the lowest rung and fail...
Well, I was going to say I didn't really have a goal, but with Father Altier's voice in the back of my head, I am going to say I hope to have a good blog that provides something of value to the folks that read it with a dab of sarcasm here and there.

2. Are you a spiritual person?
Who wrote these questions? Bill Clinton would ask what the definition of "spiritual" is before answering. My definition of "spiritual" certainly doesn't translate to what others consider spiritual. I think I'm more mystical. No, just kidding! I believe in all that the Catholic Church does: all its beauty, spirituality, mysticism, communion of saints, miracles, angels, grace, etc. So, if that's YOUR definition of spiritual, then I guess I make the list. No, I have never really messed with the occult, New Age or the like, but that's solely by the Grace of God.

3. If you were stranded on a deserted island, what three things would you want to have with you?
I hate this question. I never have a really good answer. I think I would need a copy of Al Gore's, An Inconvenient Truth, so I could predict how long it would take for the polar ice caps to melt before I would have to have my palm frond boat built to save me from the rising water and to always remember to conserve my resources. Seriously, my brother is a warrant officer in the Army, so I'd have to ask him for a recommendation on a good survival book. A deck of cards. Matches.

4. What’s your favorite childhood memory?
I had a large Catholic family that was as close to the Cleavers as it gets. We all got together often and truly enjoyed each other's company. I was incredibly blessed and just wish my children could experience the same. Favorite memories are many, but especially the times I spent with my grandfather. He was a saint. He was loved by many, many people and his funeral was the largest I have ever seen. Kind, humble, generous and lived his Catholicism every moment of the day. Got down on his knees every night to pray. Often put his last dollar in the collection. Trusted God would take care of him always. Used to put the worm on my hook when we went fishing. Thank you, Grandpa, for your example.

5. Are these your first (tagging) memes?

6. Eight random facts about me

a. Though I haven't participated in years, I enter various food items in the State Fair. Never have won. Don't think I've ever even come close. I'm a good cook, despite what those judges think! My aunt, on the other hand, enters knitted, cross-stitched items, etc., and always comes away with a ribbon. I don't even know how to knit.

b. I'm a pretty good shot with just about any type gun. I haven't shot in years though. My father would take me shooting with him when I was very young. Since he passed away several years ago, I guess it's safe to say, without CPS coming to get him, that I have a photo of me, pre-K, shooting a .22 Believe it or not, when I was in high school they actually offered BB gun shooting in PE. I was the only girl in the class and I out-shot all the guys.

c. I met my husband when we both worked at Target. How incredibly romantic.

d. I'm a cat person. Have owned Siamese cats since I was very little. Never owned a dog. No pets at the moment...just put down my cat last summer and plan to wait to get any more pets until my kids are older.

e. I've been inside one of the pyramids.

f. I have about 50 first-cousins. I know someone who has 90+ My husband has about 12.

g. I have my mother's sterling silver rosary that was given to her at her first communion in the 30s. It is gorgeous and one of my prized possessions. I also have my mother's-side-of-the-family bible. My great-grandfather used to read it every day and at Easter the family would kneel in the living room while he read the Passion from it.

h. I have one brother who lives in Switzerland. He is married and has two sons. Like many, he is not practicing his Faith. Please say a prayer for him when you read this.

Don't know eight bloggers that I would feel comfortable sending this to. Sorry. Like I said, I'm new here.

21 May 2007

Memorial Day - Well done good and faithful servants

Each Memorial Day we host a party at our cabin. I try to get everyone to send me the information on the veterans in their life so I can add it to the board I display at the party. Unless I beg and plead for the information, I don't get it. Memorial Day seems to just be a day off from work instead of a day to remember and honor. However, back in Hudson, WI, my family, distant and immediate, gather at St. Patrick's Catholic Cemetery to remember family and friends. It's a rather large group of folks who have been doing this for as long as I can remember. Generations of my family are buried in that cemetery and it's good to know that they are being remembered and prayers are said for them. Unfortunately, this tradition isn't really being carried on by the subsequent generations. Only the retired members of my family are there.

I would like to remember some other veterans. Those veterans who faithfully carried out their duties day after day and stood in front of us before the Enemy. Though there are many, I would like to honor two. Father Thomas Pingatore and Father Michael Jakobek.

Father Pingatore was the pastor at St. Ambrose in St. Paul, long before it was recreated in Woodbury. It was an overwhelmingly Italian parish that Father Pingatore was well-suited for, being a proud Italian himself. Father Pingatore and my father had been friends for many, many years. I think they met when my father was in his "questioning period" and Father Pingatore's parish was the closet place near my dad's work and my dad would spend his lunch hours bending the good Padre's ear. My childhood was filled with Father Pingatore. We went to dinner with him every Saturday night, attended Mass at his parish even though it was quite a drive in from the suburbs, I was confirmed at his church and he heard many of my confessions. Sadly, late in life, my father and Father Pingatore had a falling out. It broke my heart, but I never asked what caused the split. I pretty much attributed it to my dad's stubborn German sensibilities. I know Father Pingatore had done something to anger my dad, but my dad should've gotten past it. I did make contact with Father Pingatore after my father died. I took my son to St. John's in St. Paul (now Father Welzbacher's parish) and reunited with Father Pingatore. He hugged me like a long lost daughter. I could hardly talk, then he blessed my son. I invited him to dinner, but became pregnant with my daughter, Father Pingatore retired for the second time, and we never got to have that dinner before he passed away. I was too sick with my daughter to attend the funeral. Like my own father, I wish Father Pingatore was here to see my children and to be a part of their lives.

Father Jakobek was pastor at St. Anne's in Hamel. He was as pious as they come. He and my father used to go out to dinner together as it was Father Jakobek's one guilty pleasure. I didn't know Father Jakobek as well as I knew Father Pingatore, but in the short time I did know him, he impressed me as a priest who believed in taking care of his flock. When my mother was dying, no one needed to summon a priest. Father Jakobek was there constantly, praying silently next to her bed. He had a special devotion to his Guardian Angel, whom he called Tyke. Tyke was always doing mischievious things, like hiding Father Jakobek's glasses...Father Jakobek never misplaced them ;) He used to have meetings at St. Anne's for special devotions to the Angels (I can't remember what it was called.) He concelebrated at my mother's funeral mass (along with Father Dosh, Father Don Burns, Father John Mary Burns, and Monsignor Lavin!) and concelebrated at my Wedding Mass at St. Agnes with Father Ince. I feel very close to Father Jakobek. I pray for him and ask his prayers for my family. I know he is keeping close tabs on all of us.

Requiescat in Pace, Padres.

Who are the priests you will remember this Memorial Day? Am sure there are many priests who need our prayers. We need to be faithful to them in death as they were to us in life.

Happenings around town - home school & Chesterton

My husband and I have been planning to home school our kids before they were even born. I know it's not for everyone and not everyone is able to do it. I won't even know if I'm really cut out for this for another year when I begin educating my son.

I was a product of the public school system and then went on to graduate from a Catholic university and also a public university. I didn't lose my faith, but the older I get, I see that it was probably due to the prayers of a good many people who were looking out for me, rather than not being negatively influenced by the culture that surrounded me. Raising kids is hard enough. It's hard to get them to listen to you. I can't imagine the fight I would have on my hands to mitigate or undo all the bad influences they would be up against. It's hard enough for me to stand up to all that's out there even though I wear as much "battle armor" as I can. But, my kids are innocents. Lambs to slaughter in this world. I certainly am not going to "shelter" them from what's out there, but I am going to do my best to protect them from it, educate them about it, and arm them to stand on their own two feet.

Oddly enough, the most vocal critics of our decision have been those closest to us. My saintly aunt keeps telling me it's too hard to home school. My relatives who are teachers think that the State is the only entity qualified to teach my children (egads!). When my children were born, I had problems getting both of them to nurse. I stuck to my guns, but another aunt and cousin just kept telling me it was too hard, just use a bottle. I am shocked at this pervasive mind set. I was raised to believe that there were things in life that would be hard, but you stepped up to meet them. Where would we be if everyone quit when the going got tough? What if Jesus' response to the Father was, "No way, dude. Let this cup pass. It's too hard?"

One of the things that my father could never tolerate was self-pity. He also expected us to at least try things. Failing at something was more acceptible than not even attempting. To him, "there is always some poor SOB that has it worse than any of us", so don't even think of complaining. My father had many difficult challenges in his life, but I never heard him complain. Not once, not ever. So, to toss in the towel on home schooling before I've even started just ain't going to happen. I'm going to at least try. With my father's (and mother's) intercession and with my own prayers, I stand a good chance at being successful.

The Minnesota Catholic Home School Conference is a great source for people like me. It bolsters my confidence and reassures me that I'm not alone in this...not alone in my faith and not alone in my belief to homeschool my kids. There are hundreds of people in the Twin City area that attend this conference. A few years ago, Dr. Ray Guarendi was the keynote speaker. Last year, it was Kimberly Hahn. This year it's Andrew Pudewa, who I'm not familiar with. There are many other speakers appearing at various workshops. Last year, even Father Altier got to speak. There are dozens of vendors selling everything you could ever possibly need to homeschool your kids. It's wonderful, at least at this stage where I'm just looking around and getting my feet wet. Next year, when we get ready to homeschool my son, it will be more serious as we get down to business.

Again, the conference is at the University of St. Thomas. It is June 1-2. If you are interested, you can check out the website here.

Also, the American Chesterton Society is having its annual FREE conference at St. Thomas, or more specifically, at the "Seminary" as we used to call it. I have read Chesterton. I have re-read Chesterton. I have a hard time absorbing him in bulk (no pun intended) and can only seem to get my mind around snippets...the more quotable things he says. A line or two, I'm fine, but an entire book twists my mind into knots. However, the conference is very enjoyable. I seem to take things in better when it's spoken than when I read, so the conference is perfect for my atrophied brain. The conference is June 14-16 and you couldn't spend your time in any better way. It's the 100th anniversary of Chesterton's, The Man who was Thursday. Get yourself to the conference!! I'd write a clerihew for this blog, if I only knew what one was ;)

20 May 2007

Happy belated Grunnlovsdag

To all my Norwegian friends, Happy Syttende Mai (17th of May), also known as Constitution Day in Norway. Growing up, my best friend's parents were Finnish (mom) and Norwegian (dad). I would go to pick her up for school and there would be lutefisk laying out on the counter, getting prepped for dinner. Fortunately, there were eight kids in the family so I was never asked to stay for the feast. Their cabin included a sauna (pronounced: sow-nah) and every March 16 they celebrated St. Urho's Day, remembering when St. Urho drove the grasshoppers from Finland (for the Finnish branch of her family). For more information on St. Urho (who is supposedly a myth), go here.

In researching my genealogy, I am pleased to report that I have NO Scandinavian blood in me. I am predominately Irish, then Scottish, then German and Swiss. When gene therapy gets good enough, I plan to have my English, and very small amount of French DNA, removed.

Heinasirkka, heinasirkka, menetaalta hiiten! (Grasshopper, grasshopper, go away!)

Spiritual Child of Padre Pio

Back when I was a young child, my father enrolled our entire family as spiritual children of Padre Pio. A friend recently sent me information on how to enroll and suggested I do so, not knowing I had been a spiritual child for most of my life. It is a wonderful thing to know that Padre Pio will look after us. (You can also check out the American website here for some more info and possibly a link to e-mail instead of corresponding by mail to Italy.) Here is what my friend sent me:

How to become Padre Pio's spiritual child
Padre Pio, during his lifetime, accepted many people as his spiritual children. When assured of their goodwill, he always told them: "I accept you, but don't make me lose face." Today many of his devotees still want to become his spiritual children. What are they to do?

They must comply with the following conditions:
1. Live intensely a life of divine grace
2. Prove their faith by words and actions
3. Desire to remain under the protection of the Servant of God, Padre Pio
4. Imitate the venerable Padre in his love for Jesus Crucified, for the Most Blessed Sacrament, for our Lady, the Pope and the entire Church
5. Practice sincere charity towards all

Application should be made in writing.
Postulation for Padre Pio's Cause
Our Lady of Grace Capuchin Friary
71013 San Giovanni Rotondo, FG, ITALY
Voice Office: (0882) 417294
English Office: (0882) 417214 - Fax: (0882) 417241
Friary: (0882) 4171 - Fax: (0882) 417252

Perpetual Mass remembrance
A Mass is offered daily for all enrolled, both living and dead. The usual offering is $6. Enrollment may be made individually or by family.

The card I have from my enrollment way back when says:

Dear Friend:

In accordance with your request, we are pleased to inform you that we very happily accept you as one of the Spiritual Children of the Servant of God, Padre Pio of Pietrelcina.

At the same time, we are presenting the essential conditions for becoming Spiritual Children of the venerated Padre.

These conditions are: (they then list the five points listed above).

While promising you our prayers for your spiritual and temporal welfare, we pray that Padre Pio, from Heaven, will continue to protect you and your family, pleading before our Lord with his intercession.

We send you most cordial wishes and our paternal blessing.

Father Alessio Parente

19 May 2007

Chain letter spam

Thought I was taking the weekend off at the cabin, but went over to my parents-in-law's house and folks were checking their e-mail, so I relented. I opened my e-mail to find another one of those "chain letter" type e-mails. I especially hate the ones that say you need to send it back to the person who sent it to you within 5 nanoseconds or you are not a nice person and your unwillingness to play along is just further proof that you have a heart the size of the Grinch. This letter instructed everyone to forward the e-mail along to six other poor friends and you would receive a windfall by the end of the week. Many are e-mail petitions for the troops or a sick child. They really tug at your heart-strings.

A year or so ago, my husband's aunt sent me one that was quite offensive, although she was sending it to me thinking I would really find it interesting. It was something to do with St. Therese. My husband's family is not Catholic, not really anything, so his aunt sincerely thought I would like this spiritual chain letter. I had to write her back and tell her how offensive it was and that the things in the e-mail in no way could be attributed to St. Therese and on and on. I was kind, but let her know just where "the bear went in the buckwheat" (as my dad would say). Why someone felt the need to drag St. Therese through cyberspace dirt, I don't know.

So, if anyone out there has sent me a chain letter and either hasn't gotten it back or knows I didn't forward it on, it doesn't mean I don't love you, or that I don't want a billion dollars by the weekend. It just means I hate the junk you're sending me and I put it where it belongs -- in the garbage.

BTW: You should've seen all the fireflies last night. At the cabin there is always something that points you to a Supreme Creator.

18 May 2007

Bible study in Twin Cities and ramblings

Thank you to the folks who have welcomed me to the blog world. I have had a genealogy webpage for about eight years with a guest book that pretty much takes care of itself. I had no idea that I had to publish blog comments. Silly me, thought they just showed up on the screen and I could then give them the boot or approval. It's a new world and will take some time to get used to the landscape. Sorry for missing the boat on that for a day or so!

My genealogy webpage, that is in serious need of updating, was created long before many of the neat webpage creaters they now have. Considering how computer programming adverse I am, I actually wrote the entire code from scratch (insanity!). This blog is so nice, since it pretty much is good to go from the start...although there are many things I would love to customize if I ever get a chance to just sit down without distraction and get a peak at what's out there. Hard enough to get comments on the blog with kids jumping all over. Need a quiet moment to actually absorb stuff.

Since we are on our way to the cabin for the weekend, I just wanted to get this out there to let people know about a really great bible study. I just finished the 24-week course that Jeff Cavin's did on the Bible Timeline. Considering that I was raised Catholic and went to a Catholic university where I was required to take several theology classes, my knowledge of the bible was practically non-existent. The more I have studied the bible, the more I wonder how folks can be Protestant. Granted, I've always been a Catholic so my perspective may be biased or naive, but the way Jeff Cavins presents the material, things just seem so obvious -- especially the honor shown to the Blessed Mother and the parallels between the Old and New Testament that seem to shout that the Catholic Church is the One, True Church.

This time around, Called By Faith Women's Bible Study will be studying, "The Gospel of Matthew" at St. Augustine's in South Saint Paul on Thursday mornings from 9:45am to 11:45 am. Father Echert will be giving the weekly lectures. There is also an evening program at St. Augustine's on Thursday night, I don't have the times, that will view the videotaped lectures of Father Echert. Cost is $60. The study begins on September 6. Father Echert will give a lecture each week and then you are broken into groups for discussion of the assigned "homework."

They also have a wonderful children's program. Cost for a family of little ones is $30. There are two children's groups. One for the 2-3 year olds and the other for the 4-5 year olds. The children aren't just being babysat, they actually have a program where the kids learn about their Faith. My son, who was in the program that just ended, learned about all the people in the bible when I was learning about them during the bible study. He also learned simple prayers and how to say Grace. I really, really recommend it if you are able to attend. The course material is from Catholic Scripture Studies, written by Scott Hahn and Mark Shea. You can go here to see a link to the table of contents and a sample lesson. (Sorry if the link doesn't work, just relearing how to create hot links).

For more information, call Joan at 651.426.8501 or CalledByFaith@comcast.net
Or, if you are ready to sign up, send your check to:
St. Augustine - CBF
749 - 6th Avenue South
South Saint Paul, MN 55075

Have a blessed weekend everyone!

17 May 2007

Passive learners

The St. Paul Pioneer Press has been carrying several editorials regarding our new archbishop, John Nienstedt. Many have been positive, but the following one seems to be an example of what my brother calls a "passive learner." A passive learner is one who sits in front of the television or perhaps reads a newspaper article or catches a headline on a magazine as they wait in line at the grocery store, nothing more. They don't challenge themselves or the facts. If PBS says that the sky was falling, it is the gospel truth, despite the fact that simply looking out your window would tell you differently.

Here's the editorial in question:
A noisy ministry
After reading "Hard-line bishop to succeed Flynn,"(April 25), I decided this bishop missed his vocation. He belongs in a monastery as a monk where it is quiet and he can spend his life in prayer and solitude.
I am an 82-year-old Catholic who loves the church as defined by Jesus Christ. I have a degree in theology and a certificate in pastoral ministry from the College of St. Catherine.
Can you imagine the noise and chaos that Jesus experienced in his public ministry in the open air with animals and children running all over? He had no microphone to help him along. His disciples tried to manage the crowd. Jesus always counseled, "Let them be."
Oh well, who pays attention to an all-male clergy that sometimes is lacking in humility and ministers as a dictator?

Since I don't have too much to say about the College of St. Catherine that is charitable (my mother graduated from there years ago and absolutely FORBID me from attending, my husband's grandfather used to work there, many good friends have graduated from there and I have spent a fair amount of time on the campus myself), I will just focus on the snarky comments in the editorial.

In the short amount of space it took Mary Alvey to write her comments, she certainly pulled herself into the picture. "I decided..." Hmmm, isn't that nice. You don't even know the new Archbishop, but you have already decided he's a bad dude. All you've heard thus far has been on TV and in the paper. The man hasn't even really done anything in an official capacity in the Archdiocese. Oh, wait, he did say in his first meeting with the press that Catholics should have more babies. Bad bishop. I don't know why folks are taking this as an order. He's commenting on the contraceptive mentality of society today, which happens to include many "Catholics." Kudos to the archbishop for not just talking the talk, but walking the walk. Every morning when I look in at my sleeping children, I am overwhelmed at the blessings God has given me. (Now, when they are awake, it's a different story.) I guess vocalizing what the Church believes is cause for banishment.

Back to the editorial. We know more about Mary than we do about the Archbishop. She's 82, certainly old enough to know better. She has a degree and a certificate from St. Kate's. Nuf said. Mary concludes that she just isn't going to listen to those old know-nothing men, she knows better (back to the "I decided" line again). Since the Archbishop has now been banished to a monastery, that will create a void. Guess we better rethink this whole all-male clergy idea. Maybe Mary can send in her resume to the diocese. I almost think she's qualified.

16 May 2007

In the beginning

Ok, here goes. I have been reading the blogs of others and decided to join in. I don't know what I really have to say, since there are many other blogs, many of them local to the Twin Cities, that will be more articulate than mine and have more insightful things to say and share. I'm a cradle Catholic who has a simple faith...not too good on apologetics or well-read in much. And, I don't know about posting too frequently with two little ones (don't know how others do so much with even more kids!).

Why the name "St. Monica's Kneeler?" Well, St. Monica is my patron saint and I frequently ask for her intercession, along with a litany of many other saints. Now that I have children, I can identify with her constant prayers for her children and the anguish she must have felt over St. Augustine before his conversion. Many other blogs have cool Latin names, but I won't really have a good grip on Latin until I begin homeschooling my kids.

Like many folks, I was raised Catholic and never lost my faith, but stepped away from actively practicing it while I was in college and for a period of time afterwards. My parents were saints. My father spent some time questioning Catholicism when I was very young, while my mom faithfully took my brother and me to church. Once all my father's questions were answered satisfactorily, he came back to the church with a vengeance. He became a Third Order Discalced Carmelite who went to daily mass, said the rosary and daily office, was devoted to Our Lady, and was an incredibly vocal apologist for the Faith. He also was an ex-navy guy, so he had a pretty colorful vocabulary and sense of humor. Since his passing, I have been trying to follow his example and find my way spiritually, which isn't always easy for a snarky, stubborn first-born.

I come from a long line of Catholics. In researching my family tree (genealogy is a huge hobby for me), I have only found one line that wasn't Catholic and they were English (I don't admit to having any English blood in me ;) ). It is unfortunate that my cousins and other relatives haven't had the experience that I have had in researching my ancestors and learning all they did just to practice their faith and what they sacrificed to remain Catholic. Maybe many of my relatives wouldn't be so quick to "jump ship" if they knew some of the history, some of the sacrifice. Many of the problems they cite for divorcing or being a "cafeteria Catholic" pale in comparison to things our ancestors dealt with just to survive as Catholics. All of my immigrant ancestors, to some degree, came to the US to be able to practice their faith. My northern German ancestors had had enough of the likes of Gustavus Adolphus, Napolean and Martin Luther and all the subsequent pressure it put on them to become Protestant. My Irish ancestors, well, we all know about Cromwell (hence, my unwillingness to admit to English ancestry :) ).

Anyway, that's me. My first post. Please bear with me. I hope to spruce up the blog once I have some time to take a look at the HTML. Just in the process of writing this post, my daughter, who is almost two, has eaten part of a crayon and played in the toilet, so you see what I'm up against just to get some words on the screen. Please pray that tomorrow will be less exciting...at least in my world.