Letters From a Young Catholic

My reflections as a Catholic young adult passionate about the Faith, seeking to grow in knowledge and understanding of God and discerning the will of the Lord in my life.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Our Newest Priest

Congratulations to the Vancouver Archdiocese's newest priest,
Fr. Anthony Ho!

I just got back from Fr. Anthony's ordination. It was absolutely beautiful. I'm still smiling ear to ear. I love witnessing sacraments, particularly baptisms, confirmations, and ordinations. To think that the person's soul is transformed before your eyes forever! Is it just me or is that amazing?! Fr. Anthony will be a priest of the order of Melchizadek forever! It's incredible! (Sorry, I'm still experiencing a bit of post-attending-ordination-excitement. . .)

Another Ordination

Please pray for Deacon Anthony Ho who is being ordained to the priesthood this evening (May 30th, 2006) at St. Anthony of Padua parish in Vancouver, BC.

This is a prayer to St. Joseph for his intercession for priests that I just recently discovered:

"O illustrious patriarch St. Joseph, who carried the Infant Jesus in thy blessed arms and who, during the space of thirty years, lived in the most intimate familiarity with Him, take under thy powerful protection those whom He has clothed with His authority and honored with the dignity of His priesthood, whom He has charged to continue His mission, to preach His Gosepl, and to dispense everywhere His graces and blessings. Sustain them in their fatigues and labors; console them in their pains; fortify them in their combats; but above all, keep far from them all the evils of sin.
Obtain for them the humility of St. John the Baptist, the faith of St. Peter, the zeal and charity of St. Paul, the purity of St. John and the spirit of prayer and recollection of which thou, my dear Saint, art the model, so that, after having been on earth the faithful dispensers of the Mysteries of thy Heaven receive the recompense promised to pastors according to the Heart of God. Amen."

While we're on the topic of Holy Orders, congratulations to Jonathan St. Andre of Running the race of life who was just ordained to the deaconate this past Saturday. Keep him in your prayers as well.

And since we're talking about ordinations, also pray for Deacon Scott Settimo, a friend of Fr. Stephanos from Me Monk. Me meander., who will be ordained to the priesthood tomorrow (Wednesday, May 31st) in Alaska. Apparently his ordination will bring the number of priests for the Diocese of Juneau to twelve.

There are more ordinations coming up but I'll try and make a point of posting about the upcoming ordinations the actual day they are taking place. Thanks be to God for the priesthood and for these men who have had the courage to respond to His call.

All these men have their work cut out for them so please keep them, and all deacons, priests, and bishops, in your prayers.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Short Latin prayer?

On Sunday afternoon I went to Vespers and Benediction at the Cathedral. After the Divine Praises the archdiocesan Prayer for Vocations and the Prayer for Reverence for Life were prayed but then they prayed a really short (one line) Latin prayer three times over in reparation for abortion. I can't remember the Latin but I think a rough translation (as far as I can remember) was something along the lines of "Lord have mercy on [forgive? I can't remember exactly.] your people, do not remain angry with us forever." I thought it was a very appropriate prayer for the intention of praying in reparation for the horrors of abortion and it brought tears to my eyes since I had only a few hours earlier been speaking with someone about the abortion rates in Canada (close to 1 in 4 pregnancies end in abortion). Anyways, this is maybe a shot in the dark, but does someone know the prayer I'm talking about? What's it called? How does it go in Latin? In English? Thanks.

Update - prayer has been found:

Parce domine, parce populo tuo, ne in aeternum irascaris nobis.

"Spare your people, Lord; be not angry with us forever."

Survived Camping

Notice how it's the guys doing the cooking. A good bunch of guys.
Good cooks too. :-)

This is a picture I took on a hike while camping.

I'm back from visiting my family last week and going camping this past weekend. It was a nice break from my studies and I got caught up on some of the need-to-get-done-but-procrastinating things I've had on my to do list for a while during my time at home. Camping was great fun, even though it rained on us. Oh well, a little rain won't melt you.

Discovering Eucharistic Adoration

In the comment box over at Me monk. Me meander. there's a bit of a discussion going on with regards to the charismatic renewal's contribution to the rediscovery of devotions to Mary and Eucharistic Adoration. I was going to post my own comment but it got a little long so I decided to post it here:

"I think a prime example of a more "charismatic" movement leading to a re-discovery of the richness of the Tradition of the Church and the centrality of the Eucharist is being lived here in my archdiocese.

Here they have monthly Eucharistic Adoration for young adults (generally 18 - 30 yrs, although of course anyone can come to Eucharistic Adoration) in a different parish each month (they also have a similar event for high school students). There are typically around 200 people that show up, which is quite a few for the size of our archdiocese. The format of the Eucharistic Adoration is exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, a Gospel reading, and short guided meditations on that particular reading by a priest about every twenty minutes. Adoration lasts close to two hours and for most of the time there is praise and worship music. Everyone is invited to come up and place a votive candle on the altar as a sign of their intentions if they want. Towards the end of the Adoration time there is a period of about ten or fifteen minutes of silent Adoration. This is then followed by Tantum Ergo, the priest processing around the church with the Blessed Sacrament, Benediction, Divine Praises, prayers for Vocations and the protection of the sanctity of human life. Everyone is very reverant towards Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. After the time of Adoration there are usually four or five priests available to hear confessions. The confession lines last for hours sometimes.

While I personally prefer silent Eucharistic Adoration than with the praise and worship music going on for most of the time this monthly Eucharistic event has led to a great increase in personal devotion to Christ in the Eucharist among the young people of the archdiocese. Through this event they are discovering Eucharistic Adoration and then coming to Christ in Adoration outside of the context of this event (visiting Christ at perpetual adoration chapels throughout the archdiocese and in the tabernacles of the churches in the area). Furthermore, giving the opportunity for confession directly following Eucharist Adoration has led to a practice of more regular confession among many of the young adults who attend the event. And not least of all, the priests who has been involved in this event often speak of how encouraging it is for them in their vocation to see over two hundred young adults praying before Christ in the Blessed Sacrament; this gives them hope, encouragement, and strengthens them in their ministry."

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Bookrack Finds

At the back of the church in my hometown there's a bookrack. For some reason all of the books on the rack were 50% off, and for many of the books that was 50% off an already marked down price. So what did I find? What can $21.50 CDN buy you from the bookrack at the back of the church? A lot! Yay!

The Holy Eucharist by St. Alphonsus de Liguori ($2.50)
The Passion and the Death of Jesus Christ
by St. Alphonsus de Liguori ($2.50)
The Incarnation Birth and Infancy of Jesus Christ
by St. Alphonsus de Liguori ($2.50)
The Glories of Mary by St. Alphonsus de Liguori ($2.50)
Life in Christ by Frs. Killgallon, Weber & Ziegmann ($2.50)
New Regulations on Indugences by Fr. Winfrid Herbst ($2.00)
The Secret of the Rosary by St. Louis de Montfort ($1.50)

and the following booklets:
Thoughts of the Cure D'ars ($1.50)
Favorite Prayers to St. Joseph ($1.50)
Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary ($1.50)
Praying with St. Therese of Lisieux ($1.50)
Blessed Kateri Tekawitha Prayerbook ($1.50)

And so I'm adding to my summer reading list. I know, that's a lot of stuff by St. Alphonsus de Liguori but I really like his writings I've read previously on the Eucharist so I figured why not explore his works a bit further. The books of his I got are pretty thick though. Ah well, hopefully I'll have plenty of time to read in the summer.

Highlight of my day?

Taking a two hour nap on the couch in my dad's study. Falling asleep to the sound of pouring rain and my dad working on his computer.

On that note, I'm enjoying my 'break' and spending a lot of time visiting with grandparents. I'm going back to the city tomorrow but am going camping for the weekend. More regular posting once I return from the woods.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Holy Father speaking on Canada

Here are some interesting excerpts from the Holy Fathers speech to the bishops from Atlantic Canada during their visit "ad limina apostolorum."

Canada enjoys a proud heritage steeped in rich social diversity. Central to the cultural soul of the nation is Christ's immeasurable gift of faith which has been received and celebrated over the centuries with deep rejoicing by the peoples of your land.

Like many countries, however, Canada is today suffering from the pervasive effects of secularism. The attempt to promote a vision of humanity apart from God's transcendent order and indifferent to Christ's beckoning light, removes from the reach of ordinary men and women the experience of genuine hope.

One of the more dramatic symptoms of this mentality, clearly evident in your own region, is the plummeting birth rate. This disturbing testimony to uncertainty and fear, even if not always conscious, is in stark contrast with the definitive experience of true love which by its nature is marked by trust, seeks the good of the beloved, and looks to the eternal (cf. "Deus Caritas Est," no. 6).

Faced with the many social ills and moral ambiguities which follow in the wake of a secularist ideology, Canadians look to you to be men of hope, preaching and teaching with passion the splendor of the truth of Christ who dispels the darkness and illuminates the way to renew ecclesial and civic life, educating consciences and teaching the authentic dignity of the person and human society.

Particularly in districts which also suffer from the painful consequences of economic decline, such as unemployment and unwanted emigration, ecclesial leadership bears much fruit when, in its concern for the common good, it generously seeks to support civil authorities in their task of promoting regeneration in the community.

- - - - -

I directly appeal in a special way to the young adults of your dioceses to take up the rewarding challenge of catechetical service and share in the satisfaction of handing on the faith. Their example of Christian witness to those younger than themselves will strengthen their own faith, while bringing to others the happiness that flows from the sense of purpose and meaning in life which the Lord reveals. *

- - - - -

Within the universal call to holiness (cf. 1 Thessalonians 4:3) is found the particular vocation to which God summons every individual. In this regard, I encourage you to remain vigilant in your duty to promote a culture of vocation.

* It seems that although I felt rather unqualified to teach catechism this past year, the Holy Father thought it was a good idea.

Thanks be to God

What a beautiful day.

I drove home in the sun and the view of the coast was breathtaking. Whenever I travel back to my hometown I'm reminded of the glory of God by the ocean and mountains which surround the area.

I got home in the early afternoon and spent the afternoon cleaning / organizing my old room which has become a dumping space since I moved away to go to university. I spent a good deal of time organizing my books on my bookshelf and dreaming of my summer reading list. I realized two things doing this: 1. I've read a lot of books in the past four years. 2. I still have many more books to read.

I then helped my mom get dinner organized and had an amazing dinner with my parents and maternal grandparents. It was the kind of dinner university students only get when they go home. After dinner I went to spend some time in prayer and go to Mass. I followed up Mass with a visit to my paternal grandparents.

Now I'm home and going to sit on the couch and sip a cup of tea and continue reading Father Elijah which I started earlier today.

I'm sure that no one out there really cares about the chronicles of my day, but it was just one of those days where nothing extraordinary happened but even in such an ordinary day God's love for me and His blessings in my life are so obvious. Just another day but another day living in God's grace. If nothing else, this is merely a post to remind everyone out there to appreciate the simple things in life, to give thanksgiving for the many blessings that we often receive without even being aware that they are present.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

You know you're a student when. . .

. . . you pack using garbage bags!

I just finished a Spanish lit paper I've been working on all day on St. John of the Cross. I'm now working on getting packed to go visit my family for this coming week. I hope the weather's nice so we can get out in our boat. I'm looking forward to having a "break" from studying, although I still have a take home final to do for this past session of summer classes.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Pope Benedict on the Young

Pope Benedict speaking to Australia's New Ambassador in audience with regards to WYD2008. In this speech he reflects the reality of young people everywhere though.

VATICAN CITY, MAY 18, 2006 (Zenit.org).- In their search for the truth, young people who take part in World Youth Day 2008 in Australia will pose a genuine challenge to "moral relativism," says Benedict XVI.

The Pope expressed his hopes for that World Youth Day when he received the letters of credence of Anne Maree Plunkett, Australia's new ambassador to the Holy See.

"As I welcome you to the Vatican my thoughts turn with joy to the visit I shall make, God willing, to Sydney for World Youth Day 2008," said the Holy Father. The Youth Day runs July 15-20 that year.

In this regard, the Bishop of Rome wised to thank "the people of Australia, and particularly the prime minister and government, for the enthusiasm with which they have embraced this visit and for the practical assistance already being given to its organization."

The Pope continued: "In countries such as yours, where the disquieting process of secularization is much advanced, many young people are themselves coming to realize that it is the transcendent order that steers all life along the path of authentic freedom and happiness.

"Against the tide of moral relativism which, by recognizing nothing as definitive, traps people within a futile and insatiable bid for novelty, the young generation is rediscovering the satisfying quest for goodness and truth."


"In so doing," Benedict XVI continued, "they look to both Church and civil leaders to dispel any eclipse of the sense of God and to allow the light of truth to shine forth, giving purpose to all life and making joy and contentment possible for everyone."

He added: "It is this same respect for transcendent order that has led Australians to recognize the fundamental importance of marriage and stable domestic life at the heart of society, and to expect that political and social forces -- including the media and entertainment industries -- recognize, support and protect the irreplaceable value of families.

"They appreciate that pseudo-forms of 'marriage' distort the Creator's design and undermine the truth of our human nature, confusing a false sense of freedom with the true freedom of choosing the definitive gift of the permanent 'yes' which spouses promise to each other."

The Pope commented: "I therefore encourage the people of Australia to continue to take up the challenge of forging a pattern of life, both individually and as a community, in harmony with God's loving plan for all humanity."

Liturgy of the Hours

Fr. Richard John Neuhaus comments on a growing practice of praying the Liturgy of the Hours among the laity:

"With, it seems, increasing frequency I come across lay people who are daily praying The Liturgy of the Hours. That is required for priests and members of religious communities. The daily office, as it is called, varies according to the traditions of some religious orders and in most communities is prayed in common or, as it is said, in choir. It is an encouraging thing that lay people, and especially younger lay people, are taking up this spiritual discipline. And even more encouraging when they are able to pray the office with others, as in the family."


I'm studying for final exams. I know, it seems like just yesterday that I was doing the same thing. My first set of three week intensive summer courses are coming to an end. I still have the essays for both courses to write. For Spanish Literature we were given the liberty to write on anyone in the time period we covered so I'm going to write on the poetry of St. John of the Cross. For my Christianity and Culture course we were given a lot of flexibility as well so I decided to write on the Theology of the Body as a modern theological response to gnosticism (I know the Theology of the Body isn't modern in the sense of a brand new invention. . . Pope John Paul II didn't invent the Theology of the Body, he articulated it).

Nothing interesting to say today besides that I'm still alive. I guess that's interesting.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

On a day like today. . .

On a day like today I'd much rather be hiking at Emma Lake (see first picture) or out on the boat on Desolation Sound (see second picture) near my hometown than sitting at my computer in my hot room in the suburbs, inland from the ocean, writing a review paper on a book with the subtitle "Why I am a missional + evangelical + post/protestant + liberal/conservative + mystical/poetic + biblical + charismatic/contemplative + fundamentalist/calvinist + anabaptist/anglican + methodist + catholic + green + incarnational + depressed-yet-hopeful + emergent +unfinished Christian."

Quote of the Day

"All those reborn in Christ are called to live out, with the strength which is the Spirit's gift, the chastity appropriate to their state of life, obedience to God and to the Church, and a reasonable detachment from material possessions: for all are called to holiness, which consists in the perfection of love."

Pope John Paul II in Vita Consecrata (30.)

Monday, May 15, 2006

Shorts Like Underwear

Following my previous post on the unfortunate lack of clothing as the weather warms up I received an e-mail asking the following question:

"What should I say to 12 to 14 year old girls who sometimes wear shorts that look like underwear? You're a good person to ask this question to."

Oh boy. What a sad world we live in. Shorts that look like underwear?! Sadly, I can imagine what this person is referring to. As for being a good person to ask this question to, I don't know about that. I don't think I have a perfect answer.

It should be easy enough to deal with the above situation if it were your own friend, sister, or daughter wearing the aforementioned clothing item (or lack there of) but what about total strangers or people over whom you have no authority?

I think I'd personally take the approach of asking them questions in an attempt to enter into a dialogue and discussion on modesty. Sadly, for many young girls they haven't even heard the word 'modest' let alone understand what it means. I'd ask them "Do you really need to wear shorts that are that short? What kind of message do you think your sending by wearing that? First Impressions mean a lot - what do you think people's first impressions of you are going to be when they see what you're wearing?" Not to mention the other questions that often come to mind "Isn't it uncomfortable wearing that? How do you sit in that? How can you walk wearing that?" These may seem like silly questions but honestly, as a girl, sometimes I wonder about these things when I see what some people wear. The response you get might be hostile or defensive, but at least you're getting them to be conscious of what they're wearing and maybe they'll start thinking about it. I probably wouldn't have a problem asking these questions of teen girls (and I have in the past) but I don't know whether I'd have the courage to ask these questions directly of women much older than me.

As for immodest dress in areas where a dress code should be enforced, if the problem is on a larger scale than one person I'd bring it up with the people in charge. School principals, summer camp directors, and pastors should all recognize the importance of modest dress and be willing to enforce it. Even in public schools and programs there has to be somewhere where the line is drawn. Actually, I think the same goes for a lot of Catholic schoosl whose skirts are way way way too short in my opinion. If I were you I'd raise my concerns with the person in charge if there are problems with the way people are dressing at your school, camp or in your church.

Like I said, I don't really have a perfect answer though. Does anyone else have a solution to the question of what to say to extreme immodest dress? When do you need to say something and when is it best to keep your mouth shut? Maybe I open my mouth too much but it's something I really care about because these young girls and women are doing violence to themselves in the way that they dress. Whatever we say our words must always be grounded in charity. Charity doesn't mean avoiding the issue but speaking what we do say out of love for the person who is immodestly dressed and always recognizing their human dignity.

Warm Weather Clothes?

It was thirty degrees celcius today where I live. For you Americans out there, that's hot (86 degrees fahrenheit), at least in my opinion (maybe I'm a wimp). My problem isn't really with the heat though. I'm more disturbed by what comes out of the closet when the weather warms up than anything else.

I went to Wal-Mart to get some pictures printed today and there were two girls behind me in line wearing short shorts and string bikini tops. Ugh. It bothers me and I'm a girl, I can only imagine what guys have to deal with.

I have no problem with weather appropriate clothing, as long as it's modest. In my books, wearing a string bikini top to the store doesn't quite qualify. Neither does shorts in church.

Really, I find it sad to see the way some girls dress. Do they not understand the message that they are sending?

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Yay! Babies!

Having Kids Sends a Message, Says Pope
Benedict XVI Challenges Families

VATICAN CITY, MAY 14, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Families can testify to the value of life by having children, says Benedict XVI.

The Pope delivered that message Saturday to participants in the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for the Family. The three-day assembly in Rome ended that same day.

The Holy Father said that Christian families have the challenge to attest with their lives that procreation is the fruit of love, since a person is not simply merchandise.

"The historic moment we are living calls for Christian families to attest with courageous coherence that procreation is the fruit of love," said the Pontiff.

"Such a testimony will be a stimulus for politicians and lawmakers to safeguard the rights of the family," he affirmed.

Benedict XVI mentioned several attacks against marriage and the family. He noted, for instance, that several countries legally recognize "de facto unions," which, while "rejecting the obligations of marriage, seek to enjoy equivalent rights."

The Holy Father continued: "At times, moreover, attempts are being made to come to a new definition of marriage to legalize homosexual unions, also attributing to them the right of adoption of children."

However, the Pontiff said, "the unity and firmness of families helps society to breathe authentic human values and to be open to the Gospel."


Families also give optimism to contemporary societies that suffer the so-called demographic winter "with the consequent progressive aging of the population," the Pope said.

"At times it seems families are besieged by fear in face of life, paternity and maternity," Benedict XVI continued. "It is necessary to give back confidence to them so that they can continue to fulfill their noble mission of procreation in love."

The Pope also indicated signs of hope: "Thanks be to God, especially among young people, many are rediscovering the value of chastity, which appears increasingly as a sure guarantee of authentic love."

Quote of the Day

"All are equally called to follow Christ, to discover in him the ultimate meaning of their lives, until they are able to say with the Apostle: "For to me to live is Christ" (Phil 1:21)."

- Pope John Paul II in Vita Consecrata


I've added Mulier Fortis (awesome name!), Holy Vocations, and AmericanPapist to my blogroll.

What a Beautiful Day!

Fr. Andrew

Congratulations to Fr. Andrew! Here he is after his ordination giving a blessing to his uncle, Fr. Mark Dumont, OSB. At his First Mass this morning his uncle, who had baptised him thirty years ago, gave the homily, speaking of how the sacraments of Baptism, First Communion, First Confession, Confirmation, and Ordination to the Deaconate had all been equiping and leading Fr. Andrew to this day. It was also interesting to hear an uncle instruct his nephew on the role of the priest. The ordination itself yesterday was absolutely beautiful. I feel my words would be inadequate to describe it so I won't even attempt. I stand in awe and wonder of the vocation of the priesthood and what a gift it is to the Church. I thank God for all the priests who have touched my life by enabling me to encounter the person of Christ in the sacraments, particularly through the Eucharist.

Friday, May 12, 2006


"You are a priest forever after
the order of Melchizadek."
(Psalm 110)

Please pray for Deacon Andrew who will be ordained to the priesthood tonight!

Most gracious Heavenly Father,
We thank you for our for our faithful priests and bishops,
whose spiritual fatherhood and example of fidelity, self-sacrifice,
and devotion is so vital to the faith of your people.
May our spiritual fathers be guided
by the examples of Saints Peter and Paul,
all the Apostles and their saintly successors.
Give them valiant faith in the face of confusion and conflict,
hope in time of trouble and sorrow,
and steadfast love for you, for their families,
and for all your people throughout the world.
May the light of your Truth shine through their lives and their good works.
Assist all spiritual fathers, that through your Grace
they may steadily grow in holiness
and in knowledge and understanding of your Truth.
May they generously impart this knowledge to those who rely on them.
Through Christ our Lord.

On that note, I will be gone all day today and tomorrow as I'm taking a road trip to attend the ordination and first Mass. I'm really looking forward to experiencing the solemn and joyful liturgy of a priestly ordination for the first time as well as celebrating this wonderful sacrament with many of my friends who will be at the ordination. I'm sure I'll post about it when I'm back.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Book Meme

I've picked up the following meme from Brad at Defensor Veritatis, who by the way is reading a really good book himself.

1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open it to page 161.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the sentence along with these instructions.
5. Don't search around and look for the coolest book you can find. Do what's actually next to you.

Here's the thing. I can't do what's actually next to me because it's The Grand Inquisitor by Fyodor Dostoevsky and there aren't 161 pages. There's a 'book' (so to speak) right underneath it though.

Here's the sentence:

"In a series of eloquent discourses Moses presents the theme of covenant renewal in a vital religious framework."

Now, here's the next question, what book is this sentence talking about?

Quebec and Eucharistic Adoration

Pontiff Sees Need for Rediscovery of Eucharist
Cites "Absolutely Irreplaceable Ministry of Priests"

VATICAN CITY, MAY 11, 2006 (
Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI
invited a group of visiting bishops from the Quebec province region toward a discovery of the role of the Eucharist in the life of the Church.

Quebec City will be the venue for the International Eucharistic
Congress from June 15-22, 2008.

Today's meeting with bishops on their five-yearly visit to Rome gave the Pope the opportunity to address central topics for "the mission of the Church in Canadian society, which is marked by pluralism, subjectivism and increasing secularization."

The Holy Father invited the bishops to "a rediscovery of the essential role that the Eucharist must have in the life of the Church."

Only in this way, he said, will the bishops be able to address "the notable drop in religious practice over the last few years," and "the lack of young people at Eucharistic assemblies." Earlier the prelates reported to the Holy Father on the situations in their dioceses.

"The Eucharist, source and summit of Christian life, unites and conforms us to the Son of God," Benedict XVI said.

Root and core

"It also builds the Church, strengthening her in her unity as the Body of Christ," the Pope added.

"No Christian community can be built up if it does not have its root and core in the celebration of the Eucharist. " The central role of the priest -- who 'in persona Christi capitis,' teaches, sanctifies and rules the community -- must not be diminished. The ministerial priesthood is indispensable for the existence of an ecclesial community."

The Holy Father continued: "The importance of the role of the laity, for whose generosity in serving Christian communities I am most grateful, must never obscure the absolutely irreplaceable ministry of priests in the life of the Church. Consequently, priestly ministry cannot be entrusted to others without effectively prejudicing the very authenticity of the Church's being."

Moreover, "how will young men want to become priests if the role of ordained ministry is not clearly defined and recognized?" asked the Pope.

The Bishop of Rome also saw signs of hope in Canada, in particular, the "positive impact" for young Canadians of World Youth Day, held in Toronto in 2002, as well as the Year of the Eucharist, which awoke a fresh interest in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.

I found this article off of Zenit.org from today to be particularly interesting. It tied in various aspects of my reality as a young Catholic living in Canada that are dear to my heart. The state of the Church in Canada. The importance of the priesthood. Vocations. Quebec. Eucharistic Adoration.

The Holy Father had so many good quotes in this article. Read them and ponder them.

I agree with the Holy Father (good thing eh?) that the Eucharist must be at the center of our communities. Christ is the source of all unity, and his Eucharistic presence draws us together.

I know that in my own archdiocese there has been a significant increase in Eucharistic Adoration, particularly among the young. There are regular Eucharistic Adoration events for both high school kids and young adults with hundreds of young people, from all over the archdiocese, showing up at these events on almost a monthly basis. Tied in with these events there are always several priests who are willing to hear confessions afterwards. I know that this has also helped many of the young people in the archdiocese return to a practice of regular confession. These organized events are also fostering a private devotion to the Eucharist among young people. They encounter Christ in Eucharistic Adoration and long to spend more time in His presence. Furthermore, we have four parishes with Perpetual Adoration and several others working towards this.

Although I can't speak of personal experience of the Church in Quebec, I know that there are good things going on there too. Although the Eucharistic Congress is still two years away and I live about as far away from Quebec as you can get in Canada, I've already been hearing about various events relating to the Eucharistic Congress. For instance, Catholic Christian Outreach, a Catholic university campus ministry program I'm involved with, is holding their annual Christmas conference, Rise-Up, in Quebec City this coming year in anticipation of the upcoming Eucharistic Congress. I've also heard about a Youth Summit 2006 that is taking place in Quebec City this month as part of the lead up to the Eucharistic Congress.

Anyways, I thank God that the 2008 Eucharistic Congress will be in Quebec City. The province of Quebec needs to know that Christ is in their midst. The entire nation of Canada needs to know that Christ is in our midst. Really, the world needs to know that Christ is in our midst.


Fr. Fox gives a priest's perspective on Confession.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Horrible Ad

Ugh. Ads can be so horrible.

Today I was just watching the news and I saw this horrible ad.

It had all these sensual shots of women and then it said:

"To be desired is a good thing."

"Why not get a whole new wardrobe for the spring?"

Ugh. I have a feeling that the kind of desire being portrayed isn't a good thing.

Wedding Anniversary Update

I received the following short note accompanied by some pictures from my dad today:
Thought you should maybe update your blog picture for our anniversary. ;-)

Pics of the Chapel at the Monastery in Ladner where we were married (and Oma and Opa were married and Mom was baptized).

It was neat to go in -- sure a lot more meaningful to me now than 32 years ago.
I stand corrected. Last week when I posted in honour of my parents thirty-second wedding anniversary I put up a picture of the church I thought they got married in. Considering I wasn't around at the time of the wedding (and didn't come onto the scene until more than a decade later), who was I to know that it wasn't the actual church they got married in?! Anyways, the picture I posted was from the right location but of the parish church. They were married in the monastery chapel apparently.

May God bless my parents in their next thirty-two years of marriage.

Imitation of Mary

Benedict XVI Urges Imitation of Mary

VATICAN CITY, MAY 10, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI encouraged the faithful to give solace to the lonely and anxious, following the example of the Virgin Mary.

At the end of today's general audience, the Pope invited young people to imitate Mary, "trusting always in her maternal intercession so that she will help you to take a ray of serenity where there is preoccupation and loneliness."

The Holy Father then addressed the sick, exhorting them "to live your condition confidently abandoned in the Lord's hands, supported by her who on Calvary remained faithful under the cross of Christ."

Addressing newlyweds, the Bishop of Rome wished that "the Holy Virgin accompany" them in their "family life so that you will be able to experience the joy that comes from reciprocal fidelity and always be witnesses of divine love."


I was recently speaking with a good friend of mine who is currently studying in seminary for the priesthood. Although he has been studying for the diocesan priesthood he is seriously discerning a vocation to a religious order. If he makes this switch, it will 'delay' his ordination by several years and the friends he made when he first entered seminary will be ordained long before he's even ordained to the deaconate. I was commenting to him that if he really thinks he's called to the priesthood I'd imagine he'd find it frustrating to delay his ordination by several years. His response to me was, "Christ spent thirty years preparing for three years of ministry." Hmmm. Yeah. I guess so. His comment just gave me food for thought.

Plenary Indulgences

Last week Fr. Finigan over at The hermeutic of continuity pointed out to us that one can receive a plenary indulgence either at one's own First Communion or attending another's First Communion.

Apparently the same goes for attending the first Mass of a newly ordained priest according to a list compiling all the ways to obtain a plenary indulgence that I found online. Good to know.

Just as a reminder, here are the conditions for obtaining a plenary indulgence:

-> Sacramental confession. A single sacramental confession suffices for gaining several plenary indulgences; but Communion must be received and prayer for the intention of the Sovereign Pontiff must be recited for the gaining of each plenary indulgence.
-> Eucharistic Communion.
-> Prayer for the intention of the Sovereign Pontiff. The condition of praying for the intention of the Sovereign Pontiff is fully satisfied by reciting one Our Father and one Hail Mary; nevertheless, each one is free to recite any other prayer according to his piety and devotion.
-> It is further required that all attachment to sin, even venial sin, be absent. If the latter disposition is in any way less than perfect or if the prescribed three conditions are not fulfilled, the indulgence will be partial only.

    I've got to admit, it seems to me that to gain a plenary indulgence you pretty much would have to be a saint in the first place since the condition that "all attachment to sin, even venial sin, be asent" seems pretty challenging. Maybe it's just me. Partial indulgence is beneficial to the soul though as well.

    A question I've been wondering though, is it necessary to complete these above conditions with the intention of obtaining an indulgence in order to obtain the indulgence? For instance, if someone went to confession but didn't have the plenary indulgence in mind (or didn't even know that they'd have the opportunity to obtain a plenary indulgence when they went to confession) would this still meet the condition of having to go to confession? Just curious.

    Also wondering. . . what's the time framework in relation to the granting of the indulgence for fulfilling the above mentioned conditions? Particularly, sacramental confession.

    In order that one who is capable may actually gain indulgences, one must have at least a general intention to gain them, but does this apply to when meeting the conditions for receiving the indulgence?

    Also wondering. . . in order to be capable of gaining an indulgence for oneself, it is required that one be baptized, not excommunicated, in the state of grace at least at the completion of the prescribed works, and a subject of the one granting the indulgence, but if one is desiring to obtain an indulgence for another, must that other person also meet these conditions?

    Is it more charitable to obtain indulgences for others rather than for oneself?

    Ok, I could ask a few more questions but I'll leave it at that for now. Any answers or reference material out there?

    Update: Fr. Tim Finigan has graciously taken the time to provide answers to the above questions. Thank-you Father!

    Tuesday, May 09, 2006

    Diocese of Tyler

    I was just checking out a few diocese and archdiocese websites tonight when I came across the Diocese of Tyler, Texas. Now, I've never been to Tyler, Texas, and I don't even know where it is. In fact I've never been to Texas.

    Anyways, one thing that I really found interesting about their website was a section called "Prayer Center." There they have a list of many beautiful Catholic prayers. But the really neat thing was that they have an online prayer request form, and if you submit a prayer request the screen then displays the following message:

    Thank you for visiting our Prayer Center.

    Your prayer request will be given to Bishop Corrado at the first opportunity.
    Please be assured of His Excellency's personal prayers on your behalf.

    A Bishop who is praying for the personal intentions of his flock (not to mention, anyone else who comes across this site) is a shepherd indeed. Now, I'm not saying that we should all go and inundate the poor bishop with hundreds of prayer intentions, but when I came across this I thought "this bishop really seems to care about the people of God."

    Evening Prayer

    Jesus Christ my God, I adore you and thank you for all the graces you have given me this day. I offer you my sleep and all the moments of this night, and I ask you to keep me from sin. I put myself within your sacred side and under the mantle of our Lady. Let your holy angels stand about me and keep me in peace. And let your blessing be upon me. Amen.

    ~By St. Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787)

    St. Alphonsus Liguori wrote some of the most beautiful prayers in my opinion. I really like his Stations of the Cross personally. Hat Tip to A Catholic Life for this prayer.

    La noche oscura

    (This is my reading for Spanish Literature tonight. Yay!)

    En una noche oscura,
    con ansias en amores inflamada,
    ¡oh dichosa ventura!,
    salí sin ser notada,
    estando ya mi casa sosegada:
    a escuras y segura,
    por la secreta escala disfrazada,
    ¡oh dichosa ventura!
    a escuras y en celada,
    estando ya mi casa sosegada;
    en la noche dichosa,
    en secreto, que nadie me veía,
    ni yo miraba cosa,
    sin otra luz y guía
    sino la que en el corazón ardía.
    Aquésta me guiaba
    más cierto que la lux del mediodía,
    a donde me esperaba
    quien yo bien me sabía,
    en parte donde nadie parecía.
    ¡Oh noche que guiaste!,
    ¡oh noche amable más que le alborada!,
    ¡oh noche que juntaste
    Amado con amada,
    amada en el Amado transformada!
    En mi pecho florido,
    que entero para él solo se guardaba,
    allí quedó dormido,
    y yo le regalaba;
    y el ventalle de cedros aire daba.
    El aire de la almena,
    cuando yo sus cabellos esparcía,
    con su mano serena
    en mi cuello hería,
    y todos mis sentidos suspendía.
    Quedéme y olvidéme,
    el rostro recliné sobre el Amado,
    cesó todo, y dejéme,
    dejando mi cuidado
    entre las azucenas olvidado.

    San Juan de la Cruz

    Grad schools?

    I got a mailing today from the Dominican School of Philosophy & Theology in Berkeley, CA about their graduate programs in Philosophy and Theology. Oh no, I've made it somehow into the american university recruitment system. I remember how persistent those american universities were when I was looking for undergrad programs (especially Christendom!). As flashy as their mailing was, Berkley isn't exactly where I'd want to go if it's God's will that I head off to grad school next fall.

    Yuck! Malls!

    I hate malls. I had to go to the mall today to pick up some books I'd requested through inter-library loans from another university (which happens to have a satellite campus in the mall). I really don't like malls. Thought I'd just let you know.

    I know. I'm a girl. But I really don't like malls and don't even like shopping. I don't like chocolate either. I'm a peculiar case.

    Monday, May 08, 2006

    Professor's Mother Died

    Please say a quick prayer for my Spanish Literature professor's mother who passed away today.

    Sunday, May 07, 2006

    World Day of Prayer for Vocations

    Pope on Vocations Day: Christ Still Calls
    Cites a Friendship That Gives Meaning to Life

    VATICAN CITY, MAY 7, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Despite the crisis of vocations in some countries, Christ continues to call adolescents, youths and adults to the priesthood, says Benedict XVI.

    The Pope made these comments today, World Day of Prayer for Vocations, after ordaining 15 priests in St. Peter's Basilica, and before praying the midday Regina Caeli with crowds gathered in St. Peter's Square.

    The Holy Father referred to "the experience of Jesus' first disciples that, after meeting him on the lake and in the villages of Galilee, were captivated by his attractiveness and love" to explain why men and women decide to consecrate their whole life to Christ.

    "The Christian vocation always implies renewing this personal friendship with Jesus Christ, which gives meaning to one's life and makes it available for the Kingdom of God," the Pontiff said.

    Benedict XVI continued: "The Church lives from this friendship, nourished by the word and the sacraments, holy realities entrusted in a particular way to the ministry of bishops, presbyters and deacons, consecrated by the sacrament of holy orders.

    "The mission of the priest is irreplaceable and, although in some regions there is a lack of clergy, there is no doubt that God continues to call adolescents, youths and adults to leave all to dedicate themselves to the preaching of the Gospel and the pastoral ministry."

    Following Christ

    "Another special way of following" Christ, the Pope said, "is the vocation to the consecrated life, which is expressed in a poor, chaste and obedient life, totally dedicated to God, in contemplation and prayer, placed at the service of brothers, especially the little ones and the poor."

    Also, the Holy Father said, "let us not forget that Christian marriage is a vocation to holiness in the full sense of the word, and that the example of holy parents is the first condition favorable for the flowering of priestly and religious vocations."

    Benedict XVI concluded by appealing for the prayers of all believers "so that the seeds of the vocation that God sows in the hearts of the faithful will mature and bear fruits of holiness in the Church and the world."

    According to data in the latest Statistical Yearbook of the Church, the number of priests fell by 3.5%, from 420,971 to 405,891, in the period 1978-2004.

    In the same period, women religious decreased by 22.5%, from 990,768 to 767,459.

    For those of you who forgot, today is the World Day of Prayer for Vocations. So pray. Yup. It's that easy. You can also go read the message from Pope Benedict XVI that I posted earlier this week.

    Today is also Good Shepherd Sunday.

    Yesterday evening I had the privilege of attending a Mass presided over by our Archbishop as he said Mass at the Youth Ministry event I was volunteering at. He did a wonderful job of explaining why the readings for today were particularly important to him in his role as an archbishop as well as encouraging the youth present to discern a vocation to the priesthood or religious life. At one point in the homily he explained the symbolism of his shepherd's staff to the young people present. He said that it was to pull them back into the fold if they went astray. He explained that his staff was a reminder to him that as archbishop he is called in a particular way to draw back to Christ those sheep who have walked away from the flock. With the staff before my eyes I could easily picture the dear Archbishop walking around the streets of our archdiocese hooking people around the waist and drawing them back to the Church.

    Theology Exams

    Wise words from a recent comment made by Fr. Tom from Waiting in Joyful Hope in response to students suggesting that a critical analysis essay question might be a good idea on a final exam.

    I’m all for making an argument, but theology is a science where the input of someone from 1800 years ago can be just as valid — or even more valid — than that of someone 18 years ago. Unlike physical science, where the theories of the past are mainly curiosities that were replaced a long time ago, theological science must take into account the whole origin and development of a line of thought. Contempt for the past has no place in theology, and so we must humbly get to know what was said and why before we start to jump in.

    Teaching Children About the Eucharist

    teaching children about the eucharist
    Question from on 05-05-2006:
    Dear Fr. Levis,

    As a member of the sacramental team for our parish I expressed dismay at the content of the proposed parish based program on the eucharist for children. There was nothing about the real presence,the eucharist as food for our souls. the worthy reception of the Eucharist or the sacrifice of the mass. Instead the children are told about gathering,listening, sharing a meal and that " the eucharist is a special meal in which we remember Jesus". I brought along some copies of other mater ials I have used to teach my own children in order for others to compare. I was told this is all children can understand about the Eucharist at this stage of their spiritual development, although one of the two priest said the reference to bread and wine troubled him a bit. I wanted to be involved in teaching the children but if this is all that will be taught there doesn't seem to be any point. What should I do ?

    Answer by Fr. Robert J. Levis on 05-06-2006:
    Dear Louise, Yes, you have a mighty but worthwhile fight on your hands. YOu are so correct, so don't leave the battlefield just to avoid controversy. I suggest this: get yourself a copy of the new Compendium of the Catechism, and insist that its content is the only valid explanation of the Mass for every age of the student. Fight! Louise, the children are brighter than many think. Fr. Bob Levis

    I came across this post today on Catholic Q & A at EWTN. I have a feeling we used the same First Communion program in our parish as this lady is referring to in her question. When I was given the book and program I'd be working with to help the First Communion class prepare for their First Holy Communion I was also disapointed. The book is called "We Celebrate the Eucharist" and each chapter is titled "The Eucharist is about . . ." The chapters included belonging, celebrating, listening, caring, making peace, giving thanks for creation, giving thanks for new life, sharing a meal, and making the world a better place. No where did it say "The Eucharist is about Jesus!"

    Indeed, these topics should be a part of the Christian life, but I would have liked to see a greater emphasis placed on Christ's presence in the Eucharist and how the Eucharist is about all these other things because Christ is truly present to us in the Blessed Sacrament. This being said, I had little say in what program is used in the parish and I couldn't switch the books, so I decided to supplement what I was given with what I thought was essential and lacking.

    One of the things that I incorporated into my catechism class was beginning and ending each class with prayer before the Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle. I made sure that the children understood why it was that we were kneeling before the tabernacle before and after each class and that Christ was present with us listening to our prayers and petitions. I reminded them that Christ loved them and that whenever they came before Him in the Blessed Sacrament they should remember to tell Him that they love Him too. I also instructed the children to genuflect whenever passing before the tabernacle. This may seem obvious to most people, but in the parish I attend sadly very few people genuflected when entering the pews or passing before the tabernacle (which is set off to the side). I think that one of the most precious moments for me this past year was when I saw one of my little girls passing before the tabernacle with her mom. The little girl paused and genuflected before going by, yet her mother just walked by without apparently acknowledging Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. The little girl noticed that her mom hadn't genuflected when she did and tugging on her mom's dress she pointed to the tabernacle and then walked back with her mom and they genuflected together.

    Another thing I did to supplement the catechism program that I was given to work with was to introduce the children to a different saint at the beginning of each class. We talked about how the saints are our close friends and how they help us to love Jesus. I made a point of presenting saints particularly related to the sacraments the children were preparing for. For instance, when we were preparing for their First Confession I talked about St. Padre Pio and St. John Vianney, among others, and about how much they valued the sacrament of Reconciliation and why they thought it was important. I did the same in preparation for First Holy Communion, introducing them to a handful of the saints with particular devotions to the Blessed Sacrament. I brought in a picture of each saint so that the children could see them, recognize them, and understand that they were real people just like you and I. It's amazing how much of these stories the children remember.

    Furthermore, I also spoke to the children on numerous ocassions about the priest as Persona Christi in the sacraments. This is an aspect that was essentially neglected by the material I was given to work with. I thought this was important for the children to understand.

    There is so much to touch on and so much that could be said when preparing children for the sacraments of Reconciliation and First Holy Communion but there's only so much you can do when you only have an hour a week for eight months to instruct the children. That being said, their minds are like sponges and they absorb far more than you'd expect.

    First Communion

    I've just returned from the First Communion of my catechism class. It was truly an afternoon that I will treasure in my heart. It was interesting to see how each child was so intent on the Eucharist as they went up to receive their First Holy Communion. I pray that they will hold fast to Christ in the Eucharist throughout the course of their lives. Father's homily spoke of how this is just the beginning for them, the beginning of a wonderful friendship with Christ in the Eucharist. I hope they remember that five, ten, or fifty years from now. I must admit that I was a little aprehensive about being asked to teach the First Communion class this year since I hadn't ever taught catechism before, I'm young, and I'm inexperienced, but in retrospect, I thank God for this incredible blessing. Discovering the Eucharist alongside the children has helped me to grow stronger in my own devotion to Christ in the Blessed Sacrament and reminded me of the importance of having the faith of a child. It has truly been a privilege and a grace to prepare with these children for the sacraments of Reconciliation and First Holy Communion. May they always remain close to the Sacred Heart of Christ in and through these sacraments.

    Men in Black

    Every year at the Archdiocesan Youth Day a selection of priests from the Archdiocese take on the youth in a match of soccer. It's very competitive. Very very competitive. This year the priests won with a score of four to one. The youth may have the advantage since everyone who wants to play gets to play which means they are switching their lines every five minutes (they don't get tired). But that being said, they don't practice together before hand. It's all in good fun but the priests definitely take the game seriously as well. They even have uniforms that say "MIB" on the front purchased by the Knight's of Columbus.

    Friday, May 05, 2006

    Ponder This

    "The holiness of the Church depends essentially on union with Christ and on being open to the mystery of grace that operates in the hearts of believers. Therefore, I invite all the faithful to nurture an intimate relationship with Christ, Teacher and Pastor of his people, by imitating Mary who kept the divine mysteries in her heart and pondered them constantly (cfr. Lk. 2:19)."

    From Pope Benedict XVI's Message for 43rd Day of Prayer for Vocations.

    Hat tip to Fr. Stephanos, the B.C. Catholic, Zenit.org, www.vocationsvancouver.com, www.vocation.com, and everywhere else I've come across this message.

    Thursday, May 04, 2006

    Running Away

    Hahaha, I wish I was running away.

    I've got a really busy next few days ahead of me so don't expect much blogging.

    I've got classes tomorrow morning and then afterwards I'm going straight to volunteering at the archdiocesan "Youth Day" event for grades eight to twelve. It's an annual youth ministry event. I offered my help and said I'd be willing to do anything, even scrub toilets, so I don't really know what I'll be doing. Hopefully not cleaning the bathrooms, although, I wouldn't mind. So yeah, rather than spending time blogging tomorrow I'm going to be keeping my eye on hundreds of teenagers. That's always interesting. They like drama. The Youth Ministry Office finally got wise and cut the dance that's been traditionally held the last night of the annual event. Having a dance with high school kids and trying to keep the music, dancing, and clothes appropriate is really challenging. I'm glad they threw that out the window. In my opinion (and experience), it kind of ruined the focus and purpose of holding 'Youth Day' anyways.

    So that's where I'll be most of the day tomorrow and all day on Saturday.

    My first year university roomate is in the area (she lives a five hour flight away from me!) for the week and just e-mailed me to ask if I wanted to hang out so I'll meet up with her Saturday night. That should be fun/interesting. I haven't seen her in over two years. It's been a pretty big two years for me though (i.e. I've changed a lot). Probably for her too. Oh well. It will be interesting.

    And then, Sunday is First Communion! YAY! I'm so excited for my kids (no, I don't have kids. . .). I think I might be more excited about it than they are. Oh well, maybe my excitement has rubbed off on them a bit. We had our last catechism class tonight. "Two days and three sleeps until you get to receive Jesus in the Eucharist! Are you guys excited?!" I asked them, "Yup!" they all replied, so I guess that's a good sign. I know that they don't 'get' everything, but I just pray that they have the faith to believe that the Eucharist is truly Jesus. This is the prayer of my heart, that they know Christ in the Eucharist.

    HLI on AIDS and Condoms

    Before reading the next post down, please go and read this statement presented by the Rome office of Human Life International. The authors of this statement are some of the "others much more qualified to discuss this matter" that I refer to in the next post. If you're only going to read one thing, I'd advise reading this statement rather than my post.

    Vatican, Condoms, and AIDS?!

    Ok. So everyone's talking about it. "The Vatican" (by which I think the media means to say the Magisterium) is looking into the question of the use of condoms by married couples who have aids. This article by CNN says "the Vatican is studying whether condoms can be condoned to help stem the tide of AIDS."

    I've read some really good discussions out there in recent days on the issue and because I think it's an important topic I decided I'd wade in. While my qualifications to comment on this don't go much further than the fact that I'm a baptised and confirmed practicing Catholic, I thought I'd join in anyways. Like I said, there are others out there much more qualified to discuss this matter than a twenty-year old without even a degree to her name, but then again, it's my generation that is going to have to live with the consequences of this.

    Now, there are many points to be made on this issue and of course we could get into a wonderful discussion of the Theology of the Body and how any form of contraception in the marital embrace means that the act involves a less than totally free, full, faithful and fruitful gift of self (Humanae Vitae), but I'm not going to delve into that discussion at this point because I don't have the time right now to do justice to this beautiful teaching.

    I just wanted to point out though, that in the midst of all this media frenzy and blog posting about the Magisterium investigating the issue of the use of condoms by married couples living with AIDS few people seem to be remembering that Pope Paul VI also asked questions and sought expert advise from a commission of theologians and other experts on the question of contraception prior to writing Humanae Vitae. He was given reports by the commission which advised that the use of contraception be aproved by the Church. In his wisdom and guided by the Holy Spirit the Holy Father understood though, despite what he was told in the reports he had commissioned, the evil of a contraceptive mentality and came out with Humanae Vitae which clearly explained the immorality of contraception.

    So, here's my summary of what took place in the 1960s with the commissions on contraception. I'm telling you all this because I think it is very relevant to the discussion today on AIDS and condom use.

    In the 1960s, the era of the pill and the sexual revolution, many questions were being asked about the morality of contraception and there was a lot of confusion and uncertainty on the matter among the faithful (and the clergy!). During Vatican II, which was going on at the time, there were conversations regarding revisiting the issue of contraception. Up to that point, most had understood the Church's objection against contraception to be based on a rejection of barrier contraceptives, that is, placing a barrier between the wife and husband (generally speaking condoms). In the 1960s though, as the pill was developed and made more widely available, people began to question whether the oral contraceptive pill was acceptable to Christians since it wasn't a barrier. This wasn't a new question (see Lambeth Conference of 1930) but rather came to the forefront during this time when the pill was growing exponentially in popularity.

    In 1963, Pope John XXIII organized a papal commission to study the issue of contraception. When he died, the results of the commission were to be given to Pope Paul VI. The reports, known as the majority and minority reports, were leaked via memos obtained by the National Catholic Reporter that were intended to be communicated only to the pope. Both reports acknowledged that the pill was contraceptive. The majority report (reflecting the views of the majority of experts involved in the commission) said that the pill (and contraception) should be allowed, while the minority report (reflecting the minority views) said that contraception was immoral.

    In the furore surrounding the publication of the encylical, stories appeared in the press that it was the commission's majority recommendation that the Church relax its stance on birth control but that the Pope had suppressed the so-called "Majority Report." Based on what was leaked of the "Majority Report" many people expected Pope Paul VI to change the Church's stance on contraception. They got carried away by what was being said in the media before the Holy Father had spoken on the matter. Many, both faithful and clergy, became so convinced that the Church was going to be changing its stance on the matter in the imminent future that they already began encouraging and adopting contraceptive practices.

    We all know how the story goes from here though. Pope Paul VI was given the reports of the commission and I'm sure he read through them very carefully and thoroughly. And yet what did we get? Humanae Vitae. In other words, the fact that the majority of experts on the commission recommended that contraception be allowed did not change the Church's teaching on the matter. Ultimately, bottom line is that, the Holy Spirit is guiding and protecting the Church. The Roman Catholic Church is not a democracy. The Magisterium engages with the modern world by asking these questions, forming commissions, and seeking answers, but ultimately it is the Holy Spirit that is guiding us through these complex problems. It always has been, is, and always will be ultimately the Holy Spirit who guides the Magisterium in Truth.

    I think it's a good that these questions with regards to AIDS and condoms are being asked, but I don't think that we should jump to the conclusion that just because the questions are being asked the teaching of the Church on the matter is going to change. I think we should care about the problem of AIDS. I think we need to better understand the complexities of the problem of AIDS. I think we should be doing something. I personally don't think contraception is the solution. Contraception fails. If we're talking about married couples and the issue of condoms and AIDS, eventually the spouse without AIDS will become infected because eventually the contraceptive method will fail. Even condoms had a 99% success rate (which no contraceptive does, barrier or not), eventually, the health spouse would become infected. It may slow the spread of the disease, but it doesn't seem to be the solution.

    All this being said, I personally will wait for Peter to speak on the matter before jumping to any conclusions.

    Google Searches

    It's always interesting to see what google searches have led people to my blog.

    According to the statistics on the Site Meter, recent searches that have led people here include:

    - "Catholic Confirmation Letters"
    - "jobs offered by catholic church for summer in europe" (hahahaha, I wish!)
    - "student confirmation letters to the bishops"
    - "As the family goes, so goes the nation and so goes the whole world in which we live."
    - "Religious Vocation: An Unnecessary Mystery"
    - "bishop of whitehorse"
    - "essay + anointing of the sick + catholic" (sorry, no essays to download here)
    - "questioning of catholic creed" (I was the second hit for this one!)
    - "young catholics nfp"
    - "Kierkegaard"
    - "mercy sunday canada"
    - "Weird Coffee"
    - "First Communion thank you prayer"
    - "Teach your kids about first communion"

    Well, at least nothing too scandalous. Although, I'd be interested in knowing if the person looking for Catholic summer jobs in Europe found anything! It's the kind of thing I'd type into google if I didn't already have plans for the summer.

    Wedding Anniversary

    Today is my parents 32nd wedding anniversary. I am, and forever will be, very grateful for the example they have set for me of the sanctity of marriage. Thirty-two years ago they were married in this church (I think it's this one. . .) by my late great-uncle who was an Augustinian priest. It's hard to imagine they were my age when they got married. If I were my mom (which I'm not) and alive thirty-two years ago (which I wasn't) I would have been getting married today!!! Wow, they must have been a lot more mature than me because I sure can't picture myself getting married today! Apparently they were, since their marriage has endured. Either that or a lot of grace. Probably a bit of both.

    Divine Praises

    This is something I learned last week at the monthly Eucharistic Adoration event for university students that I attend. The deacon presiding (Deacon Andrew who's getting ordained next week!) pointed out to us that the Divine Praises are said in reparation for blasphemies against God and Mary. Fr. Tim Finigan, over at The Hermeneutic of Continuity reminds those of us in St. Blogs. I figure, since last week I didn't realize this, there's probably other people out there who still don't.

    "For those who can't manage the 40 hours, here is a thought. The Divine Praises were composed in the late 18th century to be recited in reparation for public blasphemy. Pope Pius VII added indulgences to them and they became a popular devotion, usually recited at Benediction. People have forgotten the reason for their institution and so I occasionally remind my people by saying something like "Let us now recite the Divine Praises in reparation for blasphemy, especially blasphemies in the mass media" or something similar."

    Fr. Tim Finigan suggests saying the Divine Praises in reparation for the DVC blasphemies. I've been keeping myself at a safe distance from this whole DVC talk, but it seems like a good idea to me.

    Prayer for the Day

    Every day I get an e-mail from Regnum Christi with the Gospel for the day and a short reflection on the Gospel as well as a related prayer and resolution in light of the Gospel. I thought I'd share with you the prayer for today:

    Lord, help me to believe in your love. I know that you love me, but sometimes the cares of life and all my activities chase this thought from my mind. I forget and get wrapped up in passing things. Help me to return to you. Help me to love as you love. I can’t live without love. Help me to give myself to you today in all of my activities. When I’m with others, help me to love you in what I say and do, and in how I act. Let my love be practical and concrete.

    Wednesday, May 03, 2006

    Quote of the Day

    The Thomistic studies discussion group I'm involved in has switched to doing the readings in Latin for the benefit of all those attending who are currently studying Latin or wanting to brush up on their Latin skills. . . not to mention, of course, that doing primary source readings in their original language is always a good idea.

    Anyways, my Latin isn't fantastic and I won't formally begin studying Latin until September, but with all the other languages under my belt I find I'm able to follow along just fine (especially when I've got the English translation right next to me).

    And after that long winded explanation, here is the quote of the day, from Chapter 2 of De rationibus Fidei by St. Thomas Aquinas:

    "[S]icut fides nostra necessariis rationibus probari non potest, quia humanam mentem excedit, ita improbari necessaria ratione non potest propter sui veritatem. Ad hoc igitur debet tendere Christiani disputatoris intentio in articulis fidei, non ut fidem probet, sed ut fidem defendat: unde et beatus Petrus non dicit: parati semper ad probationem, sed ad satisfactionem, ut scilicet rationalibiter ostendatur non esse falsum quod fides Catholica confitetur."


    You know you're probably not going to agree with 90% of what the author of a particular book has to say when you come across the following paragraph early on. . .

    "This is a good a place as any to apologize for my use of masculine pronouns for God in the previous sentence. You'll notice that wherever I can, I avoid the use of masculine pronouns for God because they can give the false impression to many people today that the christian God is a male deity. God is not a male. Instead God is personal (we might say super-personal) in a way that human maleness and femaleness togetehr image better than either can alone. Maleness and femaleness are biological categories, and God is Life beyond biological categories."

    Oh boy. Yes, I said 'boy.' Oh boy.

    The Future?

    As I sit here working on a paper on "The Sickness Unto Death' by Soren Kierkegaard I was just struck by the fact that less than a year from now I will be graduating. There definitely is a certain sense of security in being in school. Stressful at times, sure. . . but the routine of studying can also be quite comforting. I guess I need to get out of the comfort zone at some point. That being said, only God knows where I'll be a year from now. Perhaps I'll just be gearing up to head back to school again. Perhaps He has some great adventure in store. Probably does. I probably have no idea. It's probably going to hit me like a load of bricks and knock me off my feet. Oh well. That's always fun. As long as it's not toooooo painful I'm up for it. Maybe I'll be living in a cardboard box and working at McDonald's. That's always an option. Ok, I shouldn't joke about that because I truly have been blessed and likely will never have to live in a cardboard box. That being said, what kind of job do you get with a B.A. with a double major in Modern Languages and Christianity and Culture? The frequent response I get is "missionary work." Not really well paying, but definitely fits into the adventure category and also a nice transitional activity. Transition to what? Who knows. And then, in the midst of all these options. . . grad school, McDonald's, and missionary work, there's always the question of "discerning the will of the Lord in my life" as I describe myself under my blog title. Oh yeah. That bit. So, do you think God wants me to work at McDonald's after I graduate? Maybe. It'd be a great lesson in humility. I doubt it though. I have a feeling that's not exactly where he wants me to go. I don't know exactly where to go yet though. We'll see. We'll see. I'm starting to look into applications for grad schools to at least open the door to that option. I figure go big or go home (and believe me, I doubt my parents want me to come home after four years of university). . . hehehehe... thus, I'm looking at applying to Santa Croce and the Angelicum in Rome and the John Paul II Institute of Marriage and Family (both in Washington, DC and Australia). I'm thinking of studying either Moral Theology or the Theology of the Body. We'll see how that goes. Ok, so sorry, I'm rambling . . .

    P.S. If mom or dad comes across this, rest assured, I promise, I'll do something with my life. I'm not quite as uncertain and lost as it sounds. I've pretty much crossed McDonald's off the list. ;-)

    Upcoming Ordinations

    The harvest is still plenty and the labourers are still few, but at least in this area not as few as before.

    Please pray for the following young men as they prepare for ordination to the priesthood spread out over the next two months. The first is a friend from a neighbouring diocese and the last five are deacons from my archdiocese.

    - Deacon Andrew - May 12th.

    - Deacon Anthony - May 30th.

    - Deacon Nicolas - June 1st.

    - Deacon Alessandro - June 16th.

    - Deacon Justin - June 18th.

    - Deacon Henry - June 23rd.

    Also keep Jonathan St. Andre from Running the race of life in your prayers as he prepares for ordination to the transitional diaconate on May 27th.

    Thanks be to God for those answering His call to the priesthood.

    I'll try and remember to remind you on the actual day to pray for each of these men.

    Most Beautiful People

    Jen, from over at the Totally Catholic Youth Ministers Lounge asked me to come up with my own list of the world's most beautiful people. This list might differ significantly from People Magazine's list.

    In no particular order. . .

    1. Pope John Paul II
    When I saw him in person in 2004, despite the fact that he was obviously physically weak, I thought to myself, "what a beautiful man." If you had seen the smile he had on is his face as he watched the young children brought up the gifts that Easter morning, you would have thought the same.

    2. Blessed Mother Teresa
    She cruises on to this list because she saw the beauty of the human person in each and every individual, from the most impovrished leper living in the gutter to the powerful politicians and royalty who came to visit her. In them all, she saw the beauty of Christ.

    3. St. Gianna Molla
    She sacrificed her own life for that of her unborn child. Does it get any more beautiful than that?

    4. Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati
    To quote Jen, who also put him on her list, " Holyhotness, batgirl! Have you seen him?" But in all seriousness, what an amazing model of heroic virtue. He was like the rest of us. Just a normal university student. But so much more. His humility, love for his family, love for the poor, and desire to serve Christ make him one of the world's most beautiful people.

    5. St. Maria Goretti
    She was quite literally a beautiful girl, but it is her purity of heart and her love for Christ which made her beauty surpass that of this world.

    6. Teen Moms
    It's easy to understand that the unborn child is a human person no matter how old the mother is, but we can't ignore the courage it takes for a young mom facing a crisis pregnancy to carry her child to term. I have great admiration and respect for teen moms who resist the huge pressures our society places upon them to have an abortion and rather choose the gift of life.

    7. The Elderly
    As the Prayer for Reverence for Life that we pray in our archdiocese states the elderly are "those who have witness to the ageless values of patience and wisdom." I really do find something beautiful in the elderly. They have a wisdom that only comes with life experience. Their stories are also beautiful.

    8. The Unborn Child
    Simply beautiful. Need I say more?

    9. St. Thérèse of Lisieux
    Read Story of a Soul and you'll see why she makes it on to this list.

    10. The Blessed Virgin Mary
    She is a woman of unsurpassing beauty. If we imitate her love for Christ we too will become beautiful people.

    Tuesday, May 02, 2006

    90.38 cents

    Look at it soar!

    Considering I only live 15 minutes from the border it's tempting to go gas up in the States. There's also a really good ice-cream place on the American side of the border. Maybe if it's really hot tomorrow and I'm super duper productive I'll need a reward. Maybe not. The American border guards scare me (no offense - I think it's their job to scare people).

    Excerpt from Homily

    The Gospel reading for today was really important. If you haven't read it, go read it online and then come back and read the following excerpt from Fr. Stephanos' homily.

    To reject the reality of the Body and the Blood of the Son of God in the Eucharist is ultimately to reject the Son of God himself as born in flesh and blood, dead and risen in flesh and blood.
    To receive the Eucharist with faith that it is Christ’s real body and real blood is to make a flesh and blood proclamation that Jesus is the Son of God born, dead and risen in human flesh and blood.
    The very Eucharist has preserved authentic Christianity and the authentic teaching of Christ in the world up to this very day, hour and minute.
    The Eucharist is the real sign, real instrument and real presence of the Son of God Incarnate in real flesh and blood.
    Without the Eucharistic Flesh and Blood of Christ, the Church, the Christian faith, would likely have died out at its very beginning.

    Lesson in Translation

    I thought it was about time that I provide you with a lesson in translating 'dilexitprior-lingo.'

    The following statements were made on this blog in recent history:

    "On that note, I've decided that eating balanced meals and sleeping are more valuable than blogging for the next few weeks. I'll be back again in full force once I survive this insanity."

    "I need to study."

    "So, in other words, tonight I have to start studying again."

    "As I'm sitting here studying for my next exam (this one is French World Literature. . . lots of reading from Africa, Haïti, etc. . .) I'm thinking about how irrelevant this is in the grand scheme of things."

    "On that note, I better get to work."

    "I'm looking forward to getting back to more leisurely blogging after this semester is over."

    All these statements should in fact read as follows:

    "I have a lot to do right now. I've taken on too much and am struggling to lead a balanced life. Since I've got so much to do anyways and I need to keep my sanity one way or another, I think I'll do some extra blogging during this stressful time."

    In other words, if I say I'm going to disappear, it probably means I'm going to be blogging in full force.

    Quote of the Day

    "To reach something good it is very useful to have gone astray, and thus acquire experience." St. Teresa of Avila (ahhh... she understands my life. . .)

    Monday, May 01, 2006

    Summer Courses

    I started my summer courses today. I'm doing two, yes two, fourth year courses, in this first three weeks intensive session. In other words, I'm going to go insane again. On that note, I've decided that eating balanced meals and sleeping are more valuable than blogging for the next few weeks. I'll be back again in full force once I survive this insanity.

    As a side note, I just wanted to comment that switching from reading St. Thomas Aquinas on human nature last semester to reading Kierkegaard on human nature this semester is incredibly difficult. Rather, perhaps I should say, incredibly frustrating.

    And furthermore, for all those of you who put up with my exam blogging last month, my grades have all come in and you'll be happy to know I didn't fail anything.