Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Journey's End Review

Jennifer from Crafolic Blog created an active fun game for kids to learn about sin and confession. She gave me a free copy to review and tell others about it.  I am happy to do so!  I decided to test it out at a family gathering with my nieces and nephew.  Their ages ranged from 5 to 14 and there were 5 of them playing.  The premise of the game is for the children to walk the "Life Path" and randomly pick a card at each station in life.  Jennifer recommends using 3 - 2x4 boards, a fat rope or the edge of a rug.  I used 3 belts since that is all we had and it worked out well even though they were under 4 feet each.

Walked on the belts 

Along their "Life Path" they were to randomly pick a choice card that told them what they had to do at each station of life.  For example, 
"You chose to go to confession.  Walk forward with God's grace!!"  
"You chose to commit a venial sin.  Walk the Life Path with one of your hands at your side 
and the other over one eye."  
"You gave into temptation and chose to commit a mortal sin... Walk the Life Path backwards,
with your hands down and your eyes closed."

There were a total of 4 stations where they randomly selected a card and followed it's directions. The last station is a "Death Card" that again, is randomly picked and will tell you whether your actions will lead you to Heaven, Purgatory or Hell.

My youngest niece took a break with her dog!

Overall, this game is educational and it teaches children the relationship between sin and confession.  It's also a hands-on game that generated a lot of discussion of sin and the need for God's grace for eternal salvation.  My sister and oldest niece, helped me run the game and answer the questions that arose.  We answered questions as they were asked which caused some interruption to the game but it was a great way for the kids to make the important connections.

Before starting this game, I would recommend explaining to your students or children, that this game is played randomly and the "Death Cards" are not a predictor of their own future resting place.  We played the game several times and my son randomly picked the "Hell" card twice and asked "Do you think God is trying to tell me something?"  I used this as an opportunity to talk to him about the importance of God's grace that can be given to him through confession for absolution of his sins.

Thank you to my family for playing the Journey's End Game with me!

Thank you to Jennifer from Crafolic for giving me this opportunity!  You can purchase your own Journey's End game from her website here for $5.00.  This faith formation game is a great deal that will enhance your children's understanding of sin, confession and God's grace.


Saturday, February 25, 2012

Today I received in my email, Our Lady of Medjugorje's latest message dated today February 25th:

                                         Dear Children!       
At this time, in a special way I
call you:  'pray with the heart.'  Little children,
you speak much and pray little.  Read and 
meditate on Sacred Scripture, and may the
words written in it be life for you.  I encourage
and love you, so that in God you may find your
peace and the joy of living.  Thank you for
having responded to my call."

Our Lady's message is perfect timing for Lent and all that is going on in our country regarding the HHS Mandate and abortion.  Twice now I have called my local state representative who is pro-choice.  She did not come to the phone when I asked, so her receptionist took down my message and promised to have her call me back.  I have yet to hear back but my message was clear:

Vote against the HHS Mandate 
(100% of the dioceses have done so which means 181 bishops have spoken against this.)

Vote yes to HB 4117: for basic safety regulations in abortion 
clinics that perform more than 50 abortions per year.

Vote yes to HB 786: that women past 6 weeks gestation, 
be offered to view an ultrasound picture of her baby.

I'm joining in the Rosary Across America daily novena to pray for an end to the violation against conscience and religious freedom!  Are you?



Friday, February 24, 2012

St. David Lewis, the Last Welsh Martyr

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One of the joys of blog hopping is "meeting" other Catholics and sharing information to deepen one's faith journey.  A little while back, I "met" Beth known as "breadgirl" from the Last Welsh Martyr blog.  To be honest, I'm not sure how I came across her blog but her title grabbed my attention since part of my lineage comes from Wales.  I asked her a question about St. David Lewis, who was new to me, and she offered to mail me a small book called In Thoroughgoing Service:  The Life of Saint David Lewis so I could learn about this saint who her blog is named.

David Lewis was born in 1616 to a Catholic family in Abergavenny in Monmouthshire, South Wales, U.K.  During his youth, the new state religion became Protestant which left his family divided.  Most remained Catholic while young David and his father became Protestant.  It may have been for outward appearances only that the family conformed to the new state religion.  Catholic priests in those days, celebrated Holy Mass and the Sacraments secretly throughout South Wales. When David was in his teenage years, he converted to Catholicism and joined the Society of Jesus Order in Rome.  His superiors immediately sent him to the Jesuit Mission of St. Francis Xavier in Wales where he worked for the next 31 years until his martyrdom in Usk, Wales.

When Fr. David returned to Wales, he came back to changed land.  The civil war was over, King Charles I was in prison and the Catholic gentry who had fought for him, had lost their land.  This war almost wiped out the Catholic presence in Wales.  Now enter in, Fr. David to an anti-Catholic land, whose job is to celebrate the Holy Mass and the Sacraments with the faithful without being detected.  Which meant it was done on foot and during the night.  There were about 20 priests in the Society of Jesus Order that ministered to the faithful in secret.  He along with his fellow priests administered to the faithful for 30 years during unbelievable persecution.  Catholic priests and families were reported to to the Parliamentary authorities and they were hunted down, their belongings destroyed and many priests were thrown in prison.

Fr. David was arrested and thrown in prison on November 17, 1678 simply because he was a Catholic priest.  He went to trial where he served as his own defense against the charge of treason. He was found guilty by Judge Atkins and sentenced to death with these words:

 "David Lewis thou shalt be led from this place to a place whence thou camest, and shalt be put upon a hurdle and drawn with thy heels forward to the place of execution where thou shalt be hanged by the neck and be cut down alive; thy body to be ripped open and thy bowels plucked out; thou shalt be dismembered and thy members burnt before thy face.  So the Lord have mercy on thy soul."

After the sentencing, Fr. David Lewis was given the option to either find a plot against him or to conform to the Protestant religion.  He knew of no plot against him and he refused to conform to Protestantism even knowing that his life would soon end.  He spent his remaining days working on his "Last Speech" and being allowed by his jailer to administer the Sacraments to his Catholic visitors without interference.  His execution was on August 27, 1679 where he gave his "Last Speech" claiming his love for God and the Roman Catholic Church.  It was said that his speech was so moving and filled with his love for Jesus that those present refused to allow his body to be quartered as required by his sentence.  However, his body was mutilated, decapitated and dismembered.  His grave became a place of pilgrimage for the faithful who were so inspired by his faith in the face of death.   St. David Lewis is well-known in Wales but it is also recorded that "946 Welsh names suffered persecution and death for the Catholic Faith."

Pope Paul VI in 1970, canonized St. David along with the other 40 Martyrs of England and Wales and is venerated in the Catholic Church as a saint.  The Feast Day of St. David is remembered with the 40 Martyrs of England and Wales on May 4th.

Thank you Beth from Last Welsh Martyr for sending this book!!  I intend to pass it on to my friend who's Episcopalian Church is named after in a nearby town.

St. David Lewis, pray for us!



Thursday, February 16, 2012

Rosary Across America

I linked up with RAnn at Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival.  Please come over and meet other wonderfully talented Catholic Bloggers!  RAnn brings together a diverse group of men and women who blog about their faith.

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On February 11, the Feast Day of Our Lady of Lourdes, Relevant Radio started a 54 Day Novena that justice and wisdom will prevail regarding the HHS mandate, for true freedom of religion, for the protection of freedom of conscience and for an end to abortion.  

They are calling for all Catholics to pray the rosary each morning at 7:30am with EWTN or later in the day.  

They will rebroadcast this program at 8pm and 10:30pm.  If the times do not work into your schedule, pray the rosary at your convenience for this very special intention.

Here is a statement from Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan of New York:

"Never before has the federal government forced individuals and organizations to go out into the marketplace and buy a product that violates their conscience.  This shouldn't happen in a land where free exercise of religion ranks first in the Bill of Rights."

For more information, please visit Relevant Radio


Saturday, February 11, 2012

Our Lady of Lourdes

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Today marks the anniversary of the Marian apparitions in the Pyrenees Mountains that divides Spain and France. Lourdes is a small town that lies in the foothills of these mountains and it's most famous for Our Lady of Lourdes who visited St. Bernadette a number of times in 1858.  Our Lady announced to the 14 year old Bernadette "I am the Immaculate Conception."  Our Lady's' message of personal conversion, prayer and charity has led many people to Christ.  It's also a place where many miracles have been reported from the spring water.  Every year, countless pilgrims come to pray for grace, conversion and healing.

St. Bernadette had to have been confused and possibly scared when Our Lady first appeared to her but, she must of understood at some deep level, that she needed to obey.  She called her "the lady clothed in the sun."  How glorious and beautiful she must have looked to the young Bernadette.  Thanks to her obedience, the world was and continues to be blessed by the spring waters at the grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes.  I checked out from my local library this book that gives St. Bernadette's famous story.

Happy Feast Day of Our Lady of Lourdes!

Here is a craft I am planning on doing with my first graders tomorrow.  The idea came from one of my favorite Catholic Bloggers Jennifer at Crafolic.  I downloaded the black and white picture of Our Lady of Lourdes HERE courtesy of the ever artistic Charlotte at  Waltzing Matilda.  The black and white free flower templates came from HERE.  The original size was too big so I downloaded a copy and then using my printer/copier, I reduced the size to 72%.  It worked much better that way.  Then it was time to color and paste.  An fun yet easy craft for 6-7 year olds!

Thank you to Jennifer and Charlotte who probably have no idea how much of a blessing their ideas and drawings are to children and adults around the world.  They so generously share their God given gifts with the rest of us!

Mary Pages
Catholic Culture

I linked up with RAnn at Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival.  Come and join us!


Friday, February 10, 2012

A Lilla Rose Giveaway

Shannon at It's A Blessing Blog is hosting a giveaway from Lilla Rose.  Lilla Rose is a hair goods company that makes beautiful hair accessories since 1992.  Shannon is one of their consultants and has so generously offered to giveaway a very pretty scrollwork heart flexi clip.  To participate in Shannon's giveaway go HERE and enter.  Good luck!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Abortion is a Holy Profession?

I read today that a Planned Parenthood affiliate has a new president and CEO.   Melaney Linton will be the new president and CEO of the Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast starting March 1, 2012.  She rose up in  the ranks over 24 years and started as a Clinic Assistant.  She seems eager and excited to lead 13 abortion and abortion referring clinics as well as the LARGEST Planned Parenthood Clinic in the United States.  That would be in Houston, Texas.

It is reported that Planned Parenthood statistics for 2010 are as follows:

12,000 abortions and they earned $17 million dollars that year.
49% of their funding came from tax payer money.
$200,000 was the annual salary of her predecessor, Peter J. Durkin.

Here is Ms. Linton's statement:

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"I am honored and humbled to be entrusted with such a sacred duty...I pledge to do everything in my power to fight back against the ideological attacks on Planned Parenthood and women, so that no teen will every say she didn't know how she got pregnant, no one will ever be denied basic reproductive health care, and no woman will ever be forced to bear children she cannot adequately support."

She doesn't mention anything about pregnancy prevention or adoption.  It almost sounds like she is declaring war against the unborn.  Would that be a stretch?  Does the Pro-Life Movement "attack" women?   or Planned Parenthood?  If by "attack" she means reveals the truth of what is happening then yes, I guess it could be called that.

But wouldn't it be more accurate to say it's the unborn who are being "attacked" and killed.  

Ms. Linton is "honored and humbled with such a sacred duty."  

Hmmmm.... I imagine she either does or will regret that statement.  

Abortion is not sacred.  It's the opposite of sacred.  

I'm praying for you Ms. Linton!



Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Liebster Award

I've been blessed twice by my blogging friends.  Colleen at Inadequate Disciple and Stephanie from Mostly Blue with a Touch of Pink Blog both awarded me the Liebster Award.   I "met" Colleen about 8-9 months ago through Community of Catholic Bloggers and then on to her blog, Inadequate Disciple.  She is a mother of 4 children who spends her free time blogging to honor God and teaching the faith to 1st and 2nd graders.  She has many interesting posts that challenge one to delve deeper into the reading to learn what the Good News is and how it's as important in our current time as it was 2,000 years ago.

I "met" Stephanie through the blogosphere probably about 3-4 months ago and have felt blessed by her friendship.  She is a homeschooling mom of 4 young children who strives to live the faith daily.  Her blog has captured many funny and precious moments of her children that she so willingly shares with her followers.  If you don't know her, you should.  She's a strong woman of faith who has been blessed with a loving husband and beautiful children!

Thank you Colleen and Stephanie!  

"Liebster is a German word, meaning dearest or beloved, but it can also mean favorite.  The idea behind the Liebster Blog Award is that it is given to bloggers who have less than 200 followers in order to create new connections and bring attention to those wonderful blogs!"  

Now it's my turn to pass it on with these simple rules:

* Add the award to your blog.
* Thank the giver with a link back to them.
* List your top 5 picks and let them know they've been given an award by leaving a comment on their blog.
* Hope that your followers will spread the love to the blogs you've spotlighted.

Even though some of them may have already received this award, my picks are:

Monica at Equipping Catholic Families ~ who is a gifted artist, catechist and woman of faith.  She is a mother of 5 (I think) who is raising her children to love Jesus and the church.  She started the Catholic Bloggers Network just recently to bring Catholic bloggers together.  Her blog and business are filled with colorful activities for faith formation of children and adults alike!

Jennifer at Crafolic~ is a gifted artist, catechist and sister in Christ.  She is a mother of 9 children who strives to teach her children the faith through the bible, catechism and the lives of the saints.  She so generously shares her crafts with her followers!

Sarah at The Clay Rosary Girl ~ a gifted jewelry artist whose amazing talent at making her own clay beads is just stunning.  She is a mother of 3 children and walks daily in her faith with her children.  She is a daughter of a deacon and has been catechized well herself!

Xhonane at Familia Catolica~ is a gifted artist as well.  She is a mother of 4 (I think) children who uses bright colorful crafts to instill the faith in them.  She has been instrumental in bringing Catholics together whether they speak Spanish, Portuguese or English to share the faith.  I've learned well, how to use link to keep up with her comments.  She is always busy creating links of the liturgical year and invites others to participate.

Michelle at Liturgical Time~ she is a gifted artist who designs and creates mantillas, veils and other head coverings that can be worn at church or during prayer time.  In fact, she has a giveaway going on right now!  She blogs about her faith, her love for Jesus and her daughter.  I believe it is her beautiful daughter who is the model in her pictures!


Monday, February 6, 2012

Happy Birthday Mom & Michelle

Today is my mom's birthday as well as my friend Michelle's.  Both are no longer with us.  They've both been called home by God.  My mom has been gone almost 20 years and my friend Michelle, died last month on January 5th at the age of 42.

My mom died of ovarian cancer.  She died within a year of diagnosis and her death.  Those months were hard ones too as she underwent chemotherapy to no avail.  She was a strong lady and didn't complain but the effects were obvious.  My faith was tested during this time and to be honest, I was angry.  Very angry and broken at her passing.  It was way too soon for her to be called home in my opinion.  Obviously God had other plans and relieved her of her suffering.  I still miss her though.

Michelle's death was completely unexpected.  She had Lupus and had a couple of strokes in the last 10 years that affected her ability to work but was healthy enough to raise her son.  She was a loving and caring mom to her 11 year old son.  In fact, many times I had forgotten that she suffered 2 strokes and that her health was fragile.  While our boys were busy with scouting activities, the scout moms would visit and chat.  Or go for a mom's night out together.  We were scout moms together and friends.  I enjoyed her company and miss her presence in my life.

Happy Birthday Mom & Michelle!
Please pray for us!


Friday, February 3, 2012

Novena to Our Lady of Lourdes

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 On February 11th, we celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes in the Catholic Church.  This is the anniversary of the Marian apparition to St. Bernadette in 1858 in France.   One way to prepare to celebrate this feast is to pray the Novena to Our Lady of Lourdes.

This is a nine day novena that can be started today, Friday, February 3 up until Saturday, February 11th.  

You can find it HERE or a different one HERE.  You can even get a daily reminder with the prayers sent to your email box HERE.

Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us.
St. Bernadette, pray for us.


Thursday, February 2, 2012

Abortion Facts

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I went to the Speak Out Illinois Conference this past weekend and met so many wonderful men and women who stand up for LIFE. There were people from all walks of life and ages who came together to learn from the movers and the shakers of the Pro-Life Movement.  The keynote speaker was Abby Johnson who is a former Planned Parenthood Director in Texas turned Pro-Life Advocate after viewing an ultrasound guided abortion.  She could no longer deny that it wasn't a baby growing within the mother's womb.  After years of believing that she was on the right side of protecting women's reproductive rights, she had the scales removed from her eyes to see truth.  The truth from God's eyes and she converted.  Her story isn't an easy one to listen to as she describes one of her jobs as "counting all the body parts that came out of the machine to make sure they had everything" and the numerous times the doctors went in blindfolded (without an ultrasound) and poked around to get to the baby and in some cases, perforate the mother's womb.  Her testimony is so needed in this day and age for our society to learn the truth.  IT IS A BABY inside the mother's womb.  I applaud her honesty and courage to come forward and educate others on this truth.  If you haven't read her book, you should.  It will give you a brutally honest behind the scenes look into a Planned Parenthood Clinic.

I learned some tragic facts from Pro-Life Pro-Family Coalition in Chicago how abortion impacts the African American community.  (Margaret Sanger would be so proud) Here is what they say:

Abortion is the greatest killer in the African American community:

* Greater than Cancer
* Greater than Aids
* Greater than Homicides
* Greater than Heart Disease
* Greater than Stroke
* Greater than Diabetes

They also state that "their goal is to strengthen marriage to reduce the 70% illegitimacy rate in the African American Community."

Disturbing facts following the closing of the Rockford Abortion Clinic.  I pray that as time goes by, more and more people will see this truth and defend the unborn.  Find your local abortion clinic and go and pray in a peaceful prayer vigil.  Write your congressmen on your views of abortion.  They need to hear from you!  But most of all, pray for the unborn; their mothers and fathers; and the abortionists themselves.  Abby Johnson credits her Pro-Life prayer warriors outside the clinic she worked at for the truth being revealed to her.  Prayer works!

Jesus, protect and save the unborn!