Friday, September 30, 2011

40 Days for Life Campaign

I hadn't read this email from Shawn Carney until this morning.  One of my deacons at church mentioned it last night and it touched me in a powerful way.  The peaceful prayer volunteers of abortion stayed firm against the pressure to leave.  Yay Arkansas!!


The people who arrived for the 40 Days for Life kickoff
event outside the abortion center in Fayetteville got
a bit of a surprise -- a brand-new sprinkler system,
with the sprinkler heads pointed directly at the prayer

"The owner of the business complex turned the sprinklers
on as soon as we set up all our equipment," said Tiffany
in Fayetteville. "And they kept the sprinklers on for
two hours."

One co-owner spent the entire two hours "pacing and
walking up and down the parking lot, yelling at us and
telling the police to arrest us," she said. "Needless
to say, the police officers were polite and explained
they could not arrest us."

The prayer volunteers were then greeted with loud,
obscene music from inside the building. "We sang and
played worship music and lifted our voices to God,"
Tiffany explained. "Our God songs drowned out the
vulgar music."

Through it all, the prayer volunteers refused to be
discouraged. "The bottom line -- God triumphed," she
said. "Praise the Lord!"


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Anima Christi

Soul of Christ, sanctify me.
Body of Christ, save me.
Blood of Christ, inebriate me.
Water from the side of Christ, wash me.
Passion of Christ, strengthen me.
O good Jesus, hear me.
Within Thy wounds hide me.
Suffer me not to be separated from Thee.
From the malignant enemy, defend me.
In the hour of my death, call me.
And bid me come to Thee.
that with Thy saints I may praise Thee.
Forever and ever.  Amen

This is a new prayer for me even though it's been a well-known Catholic prayer since the early fourteenth century.  My son is learning it at his Catholic School and I am learning it at church following daily mass.  It's a beautiful prayer that means "the soul of Christ" in Latin.  Traditionally it is recited after receiving the Holy Eucharist.  I once heard the Catholic Church described as "a treasure trove" of faith traditions and it is so true.  I continually learn new traditions or prayers about my faith even though I've been raised Catholic.  It's been a blessing to me and I pray my son will reap the rewards of growing up in the faith!


Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Everything Prayer to Our Lady

This prayer came to me as I'm wrestling with how to organize our local rosary rally for Sat. Oct 15th.  
I'm running into road blocks and trying to find my way around it.  
Not sure what to do and can feel the doubts ebbing their way to the surface.
The Holy Spirit has intervened and showed me this:

"In dangers, in doubts, in difficulties, think of Mary, call upon Mary. Let not her name 
depart from your lips; never suffer it to leave your heart. 
And that you may more surely obtain the assistance of her prayer; neglect not 
to walk in her footsteps."
"With her for (your) guide, you shall never go astray; 
while invoking her, you shall never lose heart; 
So long as she is in your mind, you are safe from deception; 
while she holds your hand, you cannot fall; under her protection you have nothing 
to fear; if she walks before you, you shall not grow weary; if she shows you favor, 
you shall reach the goal."
~Saint Bernard


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Lock Down Drill

I was chatting with a friend's daughter yesterday and she was telling me about a drill she had at her elementary school.
She's in first grade.  I assumed she was talking about a fire drill or a tornado drill.  She corrected me and said it's "a lock down drill."  My jaw dropped and I asked her to explain what she had to do in this drill.  Here are her words:

"We have to go to the back of the classroom and hide behind the desk against the wall.  So, if the bad guys come into my classroom, they won't see us."

How sad of a testament to our society that our schools have to teach 6 year olds how "to hide from the bad guys."  

I remember when my son first started elementary school, the front doors were not locked but that happened soon after because a local high school was on lock down due to a gun shooting on it's premises.

I pray that she never has to experience that horror.  I will include in my prayers tonight, all school children who do have to live in fear of being shot on their way to and from school or while in school.


Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival

It's a fun time of my week again to gather with RAnn and friends at Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival.  Here is a place to check out fellow Catholic Bloggers from around the United States and there may be some from other countries!  Please come by and check out This That and The Other Thing to see who linked up this week.

I'm sharing my review on that fantastic movie that will soon be released, The Way.  I highly encourage everyone to go and see this film which is drama, adventure, tragedy and joy mixed all together to make one very original and wholesome movie!


Friday, September 16, 2011

The Way ~ The Camino de Santiago

Last night I was privileged to accept an invitation to a prescreening of a fantastic movie that will be released on Oct. 7th in the United States called The Way.  This movie was written and directed by Emilio Estevez and stars both him and his father, Martin Sheen as the lead character.

This movie is a powerful and moving story about family, friends, tragedy and hope.   It takes place along the Pyrenees Mountains that separates France from Spain.  The story focuses on the Camino de Santiago or the Way of St. James which is a very personal and spiritual journey that people of all faiths and backgrounds, from around the world, have traveled for a thousand years.  The majority go on foot while others ride bikes or go on horseback with the pace set by each individual person. The pilgrims undergo this amazing 500 mile hike that takes anywhere from 6-8 weeks or much longer depending upon the person.  Villages all along the way give shelter, beds, food and warm hospitality to all of their guests.

Pilgrims go on "The Way" for various reasons such as spiritual, penance, or adventure.  It leads to the Cathedral in Santiago where the remains of St. James is reported to be.  The Camino ends with a twelve o'clock mass at the Cathedral.  Thousands of pilgrims traverse The Way each year.

Martin Sheen plays the father, Tom who comes to France to collect the remains of his son (played by Emilio Estevez) who died early on in his pilgrimage.   Tom decides to embark on his own pilgrimage to honor his son and to wrestle with the pain and emotions of life filled with regret, disappointment and love.  Through his chance meetings of fellow trekkers, Tom learns of their personal stories of pain and heartache that we all can relate to in our modern world and he begins to heal.

Here is the trailer:

This movie is a refreshing break from the typical Hollywood movie making machine.  No worries of hearing bad language, inappropriate sexuality, or violence.  It's a wholesome story based on morals which shows all along the way absolutely stunning Catholic Cathedrals constructed centuries ago.

What made it even more exciting, was that Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez were present at this screening and answered questions following the show.  They were both charming and engaging as they discussed their Catholic faith and their movie.  Currently, they are on a bus tour to promote their movie and may be coming to your town.  Here's the link: The Way

It's a must see!  We need to get the word out that we want movies made with good standards and morals.  We want Hollywood to take notice!!


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Saints for Healing Book Review

Saints for Healing:  Stories of Courage and Hope was written by Janice McGrane in 2011.  Her book is devoted to sharing stories of the saints who healed those who were suffering in the trials of their time such as war, racism, slavery, church division, leprosy, marginalization and terrorism. Some of the saints mentioned, I was well familiar with and others not, but they all shared these characteristics:

* showed great courage by tending to the needs of others.

* took care of the unwanted, the outcasts of their time.

* risked their lives to help others.

                                       * had failings yet God used their conditions/situations as channels of grace.

In her note to the readers, Ms. McGrane warns us to be careful how to view these saints and how to share their stories with others.  She wants to be clear ~ "we pray with the saints and not to them...the incorrect impression that saints themselves posses divine power, when of course, it is God alone who grants divine favors."

Even with her warning, I was eager to learn more about these saints "who got it".  They understood with all of their hearts, they were being called to follow Jesus by serving others.  It wasn't an easy journey for any of them.  They all suffered and experienced hardships yet persevered.  They are glowing examples of how to serve Jesus Christ.

Hildegard of Bingen  is a music composer, visionary, theologian, and healer.  In fact, she is considered one of the first known woman doctor specializing in dermatology.  She understood the healing powers of various herbs and plants and used them in her ministry.

St. Catherine of Siena is known as a Doctor of the Church and was influential in healing the church from a dark period of fighting and corruption within the fourteenth century.  She underwent a betrayal from a fellow nun and handled it with grace and forgiveness.

 St. Joan of Arc lived for a very short time in the early 1400's and is claimed to be a warrior who fought to restore France from English oppression.  She was given a special gift of hearing God's voice during wartime in France.

The Venerable Henriette Delille is known for ministering to and healing the slaves of New Orleans during the 1800's.  She was a free woman of African descent that gave up her life of privilege to follow Jesus.  She is especially known for her unwillingness to "pass" as a white woman during her ministry.

St. Damien of Molokai is known as the healer of the untouchables of Molokai in the 1800's.    He is world-renowned as "Fr Damien the Leper" because he devoted his life to caring for the outcasts with leprosy, who were forced into exile to an isolated island of Hawaii with no medical care, shelter or food.

St. Edith Stein was born into a Jewish family, who experienced a conversion and became a Catholic Carmelite nun.  She devoted her life to teaching and writing about her faith.  Her life ended in an Auschwitz prison camp caring for the the children and mothers who were imprisoned with her.

St. Maximillan Kolbe was a Franciscan priest who started a radio station to counteract Nazi propaganda in Poland.  Consequently, he was arrested and taken to Auschwitz.  He is particularly known for consoling and comforting his fellow prisoners and offering his own life to be taken in place of another.

Dorothy Day was responsible for wakening the conscience of her country and her church to the plight of the hungry, homeless and helpless in the twentieth century.  She advocated for the outcasts of society.  She is the co-founder of The Catholic Worker which focused on Catholic social justice teaching.

Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta is the well-known "slum sister" who gave up everything to serve the poorest of the poor in India in the 20th Century.  Through her ministering of the poor she underwent a deep spiritual darkness that did not sway her from her faith.

Archbishop Oscar Romero was the unlikely hero of the farm laborers of El Salvador.  He advocated for the poor oppressed citizens of his country in his healing ministry.  In fact, a civil war broke out during his bishopric and he was murdered while preaching his homily.

Fr. Mychal Judge is known for his fearless determination as he ran into the World Trade Center to assist in the rescue mission during 9/11.  He did not make it out alive.  Prior to his death, he started the St. Francis AIDS ministry in New York and was a fire department chaplain.

I would encourage you to read this book to learn much, much more about each of these "saints for healing" that gave their lives for others.  Each person is unique yet completely devoted to Christ.  It was a touching portrayal of regular people who were called to do something greater than they themselves could fathom.  And they answered this call.  This is a 132 page book that gives biographical information on each person and then the author's personal reflections at the end of each chapter.  Ms. McGrane is a disability activist, an environmental advocate as well as a board chairperson for Liberty Resources, a Center for Independent Living.

This review is part of the Catholic book reviewer program The Catholic Company.  I received no monetary compensation for this review.  Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on Saints for Healing.  They are also a great source for a Catechism of the Catholic Church and for a Catholic Bible.


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Courageous The Movie

I just learned that the movie Courageous is opening up on Friday, September 30th.  This movie is from the creators of Fireproof.  (You'll even recognize some of the same cast members.)  It's a drama about the struggles fathers face raising their children in the modern age and how they desire to be Godly fathers.  For more information you can go to Courageous Catholic Resources.

Check out the trailer:


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Admitting I was Catholic, Set Me Free

But not in a good way...  I was here yesterday

for jury duty.  

The criminal courthouse was connected to this...

the county jail.  

It was a bit unnerving for it was also located in a rough neighborhood of the city.

This was my first time being summoned to criminal court for jury duty.  Civil court is where I've always been sent so this was a new experience for me.  Around the lunch hour I was called to a courtroom on the 5th floor for the jury selection process.  They sent 50 of us to this courtroom to hear a brief description of the case and answer questions to the judge first, then the state attorneys and the defense attorneys.   Any of them could decide whether to keep us as jurors or not.

In general, most people do not like being selected for a jury because it disrupts their life.  Let's face it, it's inconvenient.  I, too, was hoping not to be selected on this jury for my own inconvenience and for the type of case it was.  

The charges were kidnapping and sexual assault of a minor.

So you hear all sorts of excuses why a person cannot serve on a jury.  Due to the nature of this one, many of the prospective jurors claimed that someone close to them had been raped.  Immediately they were excused.  

We were all asked the same set of questions such as:

"Do you know personally any judges, criminal defense attorneys, or police officers?"  
"What high school did you go to?" 
 "What do you do in your spare time?"  
"What do you like to read?"

I was questioned near the very end and I had noticed that anyone who stated they went to a Catholic High School were excused by either the state or the defense.   They didn't say it was Catholic but the ones mentioned were all prominent ones in our city's area.  As for myself, I did not go to a Catholic High School but when I was asked "What you do in your spare time?"  

I responded, "I teach religious education, I'm involved in pro-life work and I'm a Catholic Blogger."

There were all sorts of rumblings at the state attorneys table and the judge turned to them and asked if they had any questions for me.  Surprisingly, they said no and excused me from serving on this case.

This surprised me because I thought I would have been the exact type of person the state would want serving on the jury.  Maybe they thought I would blog about it, and I am, without disclosing the names of any involved parties.  Why would the state care that I'm Catholic and serve as a religious education teacher and do pro-life work?  Was this religious discrimination?  Admittedly, I was stumped.

I believed the defense would send me packing.  Not the state.  I'm really curious to know why but the truth is, I'll never know and I did my duty by going down for jury duty.

More importantly, there was a minor girl who allegedly was kidnapped for a couple of days and sexually assaulted.  Her family was in the courtroom watching the jury selection as was the defendant.  All parties involved need prayer asking for God's forgiveness, mercy and healing.  There was definite suffering and pain in the family and I felt it.  


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Happy Birthday to the Blessed Virgin Mary

The Feast of the Birth of Our Blessed Virgin Mary is celebrated by the church on September 8th.  God had a special plan for Mary, to be be the Mother of Jesus.  
The second person in the Holy Trinity.  Therefore, her birth was miraculous and she was conceived without sin.  Here is a prayer from the morning prayer of the Divine Office.

Thy birth, O Virgin Mother of God,
heralded joy to all the world.
For from thou hast risen the Sun of justice,
Christ our God.
Destroying the curse, He gave blessing;
and damning death, He bestowed on us
life everlasting.
Blessed art thou among women
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.
For from thou hast risen of Sun of justice,
Christ our God.

For more information on how to celebrate the Birthday of Our Blessed Virgin Mary, you can go to Women for Faith and Family.  They have lots of creative ideas to celebrate this day.  I think I'm going to follow their suggestion and make a birthday cake with white frosting and blue trim.


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Girl Scouts and Planned Parenthood

I've been hearing the buzz about the unlikely connection between Girl Scouts and Planned Parenthood and decided to research it.  It seems as if it's not a newly formed connection but it has drawn much recent attention since two teenage girls, Sydney and Tess Volanski who have left scouting, exposed the disturbing link between Girl Scouts and Planned Parenthood.

The girls created their own website called Speak Now: Girl Scouts to reveal how they personally learned of the connection.  They describe a workshop the Girl Scouts were involved in called "Girls Only Workshop" held at the United Nations.  A Planned Parenthood brochure called Healthy, Happy and Hot A Young Persons Guide to their RIGHTS, SEXUALITY, AND LIVING WITH HIV was among the brochures to be distributed.  International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) published this pamphlet and call it:

"A guide written for young people living with HIV to help them understand their rights, and live healthy, happy and sexually fulfilling lives.

Young people living with HIV may feel that sex is just not an option, but this need not be the case.

This guide is designed to support young people living with HIV to increase sexual pleasure, improve health, and develop strong intimate relationships.

It explores how human rights and sexual well-being are related and suggests strategies to help them make decisions about dating, relationships, sex and parenthood.

Remember now, that Girl Scouts is open to kindergartners to 12th grade.  These are children and young teens!  Way too young to be exposed to this immoral propaganda as if it's the norm in our society.  Part of the Girl Scout Promise is "to serve God" not make a mockery of Him.

IPPF's mission statement is this:  

The International Planned Parenthood Federation
(IPPF) is a global service provider and a leading
advocate of sexual and reproductive health and
rights for all. We are a worldwide movement
of national organizations working with and for
communities and individuals.
IPPF works towards a world where women, men
and young people everywhere have control over
their own bodies, and therefore their destinies.
A world where they are free to choose parenthood
or not; free to decide how many children they
will have and when; free to pursue healthy sexual
lives without fear of unwanted pregnancies and
sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.
A world where gender or sexuality are no longer a
source of inequality or stigma. We will not retreat
from doing everything we can to safeguard these
important choices and rights for current and
future generations.

I believe God has called forth Sydney and Tess Volanski to speak the truth and let the world know that young girls who join the Girl Scouts of America are likely to be exposed to the goals of Planned Parenthood.

Beware mothers of young girls, check out your local Girl Scout organization and seek out the truth.  I cannot believe that all Girl Scout Troops are befriending Planned Parenthood but there is a link that has been unveiled to the public.


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Visions ~ A Book Review

   I've heard a lot about the fictional character Father Ignatius who is the main character of the book, Visions.  The author of this tale is my blogging friend Victor S.E. Moubarak.   I was so intrigued by Victor's blog writing of his character that I had to buy the book myself and read it.  I'm so happy I did!  It was a fun and thought-provoking book.  The theme involves a miracle witnessed by three children in a small town.  What is this miracle?  Three children see the unbelievable, Jesus in their local park.  The Apparition of Jesus gave them a message to deliver to their parish priest, Fr. Ignatius.  The message was to pray for peace.
   The story is set in modern day and outlines the reactions the children received from their priest, their youth minister, their parents, their friends and then the community at large.  As the story unfolds, the children do not waver in their account of what happened.  In fact, they are calm and filled with peace.  Not the rest of them.  Major flooding of emotions and reactions wreak havoc in their families, within the church and community.  It's Fr. Ignatius' job to figure this out and bring peace and healing to his church even though he himself, doesn't know what to believe.  Without giving the ending away, let's just say, he rises to the occasion and does as he was called to do!

   This book addresses questions of faith and obedience.  Of stepping out of one's comfort zone to do the Will of God no matter the cost.  Believing in something bigger than oneself.  It made me think, what would I do if I witnessed an Apparition of Jesus?

   I very much enjoyed reading Victor's book.  You can get your own copy on Amazon or you can go Victor's website, Time For Reflections for additional information.  Victor is also one of the authors of Community of Catholic Bloggers.  You'll enjoy his sense of humor and writing style as soon as you check out his blog!