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.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Top Five People

Danny from Irish and Dangerous tagged me with this a week ago. I'm a bit slow on my response but I guess later is better than never.

Here it goes. . .

If you could meet and have a deep conversation with any five people on earth, living or dead, from any time period, who would they be? (Explaining why is optional.)

Ok, so I'm not going to repeat any name twice. Keep in mind I would have put Pope John Paul II on almost every one of these lists.

I'm not taking the time to explain why I've chosen these people, though I have a reason for each of them, since if you waited for me to explain this might never get done.

Name five people from each of the following categories:

1) St. Maria Gorreti
2) St. Thomas Aquinas
3) St. Peter
4) St. Thérèse of Lisieux
5) St. Jean Marie Vianney

Those in the Process of Being Canonized
1) Pope John Paul II
2) Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati
3) Servant of God George Vanier
4) Servant of God Claire de Castlebajac
5) Blessed Mother Teresa

Heroes from Your Native Country
1) Jean Vanier
2) St. Jean Brébeuf
3) Terry Fox
4) John McCrae
5) Blessed Marie de l'Incarnation

1) Pope Benedict XVI
2) J.R.R. Tolkien
3) C.S. Lewis
4) St. Josemaría Escrivá
5) St. Alphonsus Liguori

Celebrities (Who's defining "celebrities"?)
1) St. Michael the Archangel
2) St. Nicolas
3) Good King Wenceslas
4) Pope Paul VI
5) St. Thomas More

I'm not going to tag anyone else because I think this has already gone around and most people have done it. If you want to take up this meme and haven't already done it, go ahead. . . I tag you!

Busy Day

I had a really busy day today.

I woke up, went to Mass, caught the bus to go pick up my bike, biked to the college, spent the later part of the morning and all afternoon working on Student Life stuff (my part time job for this coming academic year. . . organizing events for students at the college), biked home, had supper, cleaned up, made up a weekly schedule for the fall (I have so much going on I need to be organized this way), talked on the phone with a friend, visited Jesus, came home and did dishes, caught up on e-mails, and now. . . well, I'm thinking it's about bedtime.

Tomorrow I'm heading up to Westminster Abbey (no, not the England one) with some friends (A Journey & Confessions from a Young Catholic). It's supposed to be fantastic weather and I'm sure it will be gorgeous up there. Going up to the Abbey and spending time in prayer, joining in on the Liturgy of the Hours, wandering the grounds, and visiting with some of my Benedictine friends always helps me keep things in perspective and restore peace to my life when things are hectic. It's such a blessing to be able to withdraw from the crazy pace of life and just be. . . to simply to rest in His presence. The semester hasn't even started but things are already getting hectic!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006


I picked up some of my textbooks today from the university bookstore. I will post a complete list that you will may envy sometime next week once the dust settles.

By far the heaviest, thickest, and most frightening text I purchased today was Commentary on Aristotle's Metaphysics by St. Thomas Aquinas. St. Thomas Aquinas is going to have to be busy interceding for me if I'm going to read this whole thing.

(As a side note, I find it a good habit to say a short prayer to the saint/author when reading any text written by a saint. It helps me to keep things in perspective (especially when overwhelmed by my studies. . . the final goal of eternal life is what really matters in the long run) and also of course has the benefits of intercession from the communion of saints.)

Learning Latin

Hat tip to Aaron at Indolent Server. This reminds me. . . I'm looking forward to Medieval Ecclesiastical Latin (LATN 211) this coming semester. Yipeeeee!

Ten Years Ago

You've Changed 76% in 10 Years

Compared to who you were ten years ago, you've changed a great deal.
In fact, you're probably in a completely different phase of your life - and very happy about it!

Considering that ten years ago I was eleven years old,
I sure hope I've changed a lot!


I think this is a good problem to have. . . I discovered, as I unpacked my stuff, that I have a serious lack of bookshelf space. Welcome to another semester with the wall lined with books on the floor. Sigh...

Back in the City

I'm back!

I travelled back to the city for another (last?) year of fun filled studies. This is my fourth year of university so I guess that means I'm graduating in April. Yikes!

I just got back this afternoon and I've already unpacked, bought a baby present for a friend, bought my textbooks (I wanted to get the used ones before they were all gone), and taken my bike in for a tune-up.

As I was travelling back today, while sitting in the ferry line-up en route, I came across the following quote in In Conversation with God (a daily meditation series that I read):

"Students would be lacking in justice towards society and towards their families, at times seriously, if they are supposed to be studying. In general, examination marks can be a good source of material for examination of conscience."

Hmmmm. . . on that note, I guess I better apply myself to my studies this semester. All things in moderation though. ;-)

Monday, August 28, 2006

Tolkien and the Eucharist

"Out of the darkness of my life, so much frustrated, I put before you the one great thing to love on earth: the Blessed Sacrament ... There you will find romance, glory, honor, fidelity and the true way of all your loves upon earth."
- J.R.R. Tolkien in a letter to his son

Saturday, August 26, 2006


As I posted previously, I'm busy this week with friends visiting and then I'm heading back to the city for another fun filled year of university.

The friends I have up are involved with a Catholic campus ministry program called Catholic Christian Outreach (CCO). The husband, Rob, is a former mennonite pastor and relatively recent Catholic convert who is now working full time as a lay Catholic missionary in response to Pope John Paul II's call for the new evangelization. He has quite the story to tell, coming from working as a pastor in a church his dad started to quitting his job because he decided to enter the Catholic Church after reading the Church fathers. He was married with two children at the time and went from a full time job as a pastor to working at a fastfood restaurant just to support his family while he prepared to enter the Catholic Church. Conversion stories like that really humble me. He's now a full time missionary on university campuses and he has to raise funds for his salary in order to support his family (he and his wife now have three young children). This is not easy.

I was introduced to Catholic Christian Outreach when I moved to the city to go to university. Although they're not directly involved at the college I attend (since the college is Catholic) they're doing some amazing work at several of the campuses of secular universities in our archdiocese (and across Canada).

CCO is "a university student movement dedicated to evangelization. We challenge students to live in the fullness of the Catholic faith, with a strong emphasis on becoming leaders in the renewal of the world." CCO's work involves Faith study groups, ministry and leadership training, retreats and conferences, missions projects, Youth outreaches, Sports, recreation and socials, etc...

CCO is motivated by the words of Pope John Paul II "Youth must not simply be considered as an object of pastoral concern for the Church. In fact, young people are and ought to be encouraged to be active on behalf of the Church as leading characters in evangelization and participants in the renewal of society."

Perhaps one of the most popular events they sponsor in our area is a monthly event called "Summit." This is a Eucharistic Adoration event that is held once a month in a different parish every month and young adults from all over the archdiocese attend this. There are typically around 200 people, on a monthly basis, at Summit. There are also always several priests available to hear confessions after Adoration and the line-ups for the confessionals are always long. After Adoration there's usually a social which allows us to get to know other young Catholics from throughout the archdiocese. The work of CCO has helped to foster vocations to the priesthood and religious life as well as connected more than a few "CCO Couples" who have gone on to marry and continue to be actively involved in the life of the Church.

Anyways, Rob is up with his family for a few days. They're having a bit of a holiday up here but he will also be giving a talk tomorrow night at our parish to share his testimony and the mission of Catholic Christian Outreach with the parishoners here. Please pray for Rob and his family and the work of CCO.

Several of my fellow bloggers from this area also attend CCO events (hmmmm... A Journey, Et In Arcadia Ego, VanCatholic, Confessions of a Young Catholic, Almost Anonymous, . . .)

Fascinating Post

Fr. Finigan from The Hermeneutic of Continuity has just returned from spending some time at the Great Cloister of St Hugh's, Parkminster. He has posted numerous pictures with descriptions which are quite fascinating and well worth taking the time to read through.

"The Carthusian leaves his cell three times a day - for the Night Office, Mass, and Vespers. If it is necessary to leave the cell for something else: to go to the library or to a class, for example, the recommendation is to try to arrange that activity after Mass or before Vespers so that there is no need to leave the cell on an additional occasion.

The purpose of the solitude and silence is to draw closely to God in contemplative union - to broaden the inner horizon while restricting the worldly horizon would be one way of trying to explain it. There is a great emphasis on prayer as "direct" union with God - praying rather than thinking about prayer, or God, or the truths of the faith. The Carthusians thus have a strong affinity with the desert Fathers whose aim was essentially the same.

As a parish priest, I am often on my own in the presbytery. People who visit to arrange a Baptism or a Wedding comment on how quiet it is, how they can hear the clock ticking, or the birds singing for example. This is in contrast to a world in which people abhor silence, as "nature abhors a vacuum" and blot out the silence with the television or with recorded music. The silence of the Charterhouse is not an empty silence, not simply an absence of noise. It is a silence in which God can communicate with the soul, where distractions are reduced to a minimum."

Friday, August 25, 2006

Busy Week Ahead

Blogging may be slow for the next little while seeing as I have friends (a couple, their baby and toddler) visiting until Tuesday and then Tuesday night I have a wedding reception to go to for some friends from highschool and then on Wednesday I'm travelling back to the city for another fun filled year of studies. Somewhere in there I have to pack and I'm still juggling grandparent care.

Servant of God Claire de Castelbajac

I had never heard about Claire de Castelbajac until tonight when I read about her on the Shrine of the Holy Whapping.

"Being a saint means loving the ordinary things of life for God, with God and with His divine grace and strength."
- Claire de Castelbajac

She is a young saint of the twentieth century. She was twenty-two when she died. . . that's only a year older than I am now. God in his infinite wisdom though knows I need much more than twenty-two years if I'm ever to be a saint . . .

My Song for Today

"My life t'is but an instant, an hour that passes by
A single day that slips my grasp and quickly slides away
O well you know dear God! to love you before I die
I only have today! . . ."

- St. Therese of Lisieux

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Plan B

Lord, have mercy on us.

Always Learning

I learnt something new today. It's always humbling to be reminded of how ignorant you really are.

Bartholomew = Nathaniel

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Prayer for Those Growing Old

Paulinus from In Hoc Signo Vinces (which reminds me to make another addition to my blogroll) kindly posted the following prayer for me (or rather to be prayed for my grandparents) after reading some of my recent posts on caring for my grandparents.

A Prayer to Our Blessed Lady
for Those Who Are Growing Old

Take my hand, O Blessed Mother,
Hold me firmly lest I fall,
I am nervous when I’m walking,
And to Thee I humbly call.

Guide me over every crossing,
Watch me when I’m on the stairs.
Let me know that you’re beside me,
Listen to my fervent prayer.

Bring me to my destination,
Safely bring me, every day.
Help me with each undertaking,
As the hours pass away.

So, when evening falls upon us,
And I fear to be alone,
Take my hand, O Blessed Mother,
Once again and lead me home.


Catechism Preparation

Last year was my first year of teaching Catechism. I found out I was going to be teaching the grade two class (which involves sacramental preparation for First Confession and First Communion) the day before classes started. I was kind of thrown into the whole thing not knowing what to expect or what I was doing. Although I initially felt unprepared and unqualified to be preparing the children for the sacraments, I soon began to get the hang of things and teaching these young eager minds as they prepared to encounter Christ in the sacraments of Reconciliation and Communion brought me great joy.

Last week I got an e-mail from my parish asking if I'd be willing to teach catechism again this coming year. Within minutes of receiving that e-mail though I also received an e-mail from the person in charge of our Archdiocesan catechesis program for children with mental disabilities asking if I'd be interested in teaching with them. Unfortunately, the two catechism programs overlapped and so I had to make a choice. I love working with children with disabilities. Their simple faith, deep love, trust, and joy truly inspires me. In the end though I decided to stick with the program in my local parish.

And so, last night I decided that I'd get myself organized for this coming year. I wanted to be on top of things this time so that I'd be prepared once catechism classes start again next month. I know that once I start my own studies things will get hectic and I feel that I owe it to the kids to do a thorough and well thought out job of instructing them in the Faith. Preparing the children for their First Confession and First Communion is a huge responsibility.

As I started to get things organized last night I found a stack of old catechism books from when my siblings and I were much younger. I was flipping through these books looking for material I could use with my own class, when I saw some pretty frightening things. . . let's just say that the images in children's catechism books from the eighties were scary (and certainly not in accordance with liturgical norms). Sigh. . .

Does anyone know of any good websites with age-appropriate resources for preparing for First Confession and First Communion?

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Blogroll Updates

I've added a couple of new blogs to my blogroll.

First of all, we have the long overdue Zadok the Roman, coming to you straight from Rome!

Secondly, I've added the recently discovered Fifty Sophomoric Summers by Fr. L.W. Gonzales from Arizona. In addition to his blog, Fr. Gonzales has a personal website which serves as a rich resource for prayers and basic information on some popular Catholic devotions.

It's well worth your time to check out Father's pages on:
St. Faustina and Divine Mercy
Our Lady of Fatima
Catholic Devotions
Prayers for Priests

Je veux un baiser aussi!

As the end of the summer approaches the situation at home becomes increasingly difficult for both sets of my grandparents. I'm worried about how they're going to cope once I go back to school. Both my Oma and my mom's side and my Grandpa on my dad's side need more or less full care (feeding, bathroom, bathing, etc. . .). I've spent the last few months helping with this but reality is I need to get back to school. It's really tempting to say "There are more important things than school" and stay here with my grandparents but I don't think this would be the most prudential thing to do when I'm less than a year away from graduation. It's tempting though.

The fact of the matter is that relatively soon after I go back to school both my Oma and Grandpa are going to have to move into a nursing home. They're both making their way up the waiting list. A respite bed became available for my Oma for this coming week and so starting tomorrow she'll be spending one week in the nursing home to give my Opa the opportunity to catch up on his sleep and rest a bit (he hasn't been sleeping because she keeps him up all night crying, calling out, and getting out of bed). It was very difficult for my Opa to give consent to her going into the nursing home even for one week (though she'll likely be moving in permanently within the next month or two). It broke my heart to speak with him about it yesterday. With tears in his eyes he kept repeating over and over again "Ce n'est pas facil. Ce n'est pas facil." (It's not easy. It's not easy.) I told him that I couldn't imagine being in his position and that I couldn't say anything that would make his decision easier but that I would go pray for him. He told me that that's probably the one thing that could help Oma now. This simple but beautiful expression of Faith really touched me.

On a lighter note, I stopped by yesterday to visit my Oma and Opa and as I was going to leave my Opa said "Tu as oublié de me donner un baiser." (You forgot to give me a kiss.) So I went back and gave him a hug and a kiss on the cheek. I then turned to leave and my Oma looked at me with wide eyes and said quite indignantly "Je veux un baiser aussi!" (I want a kiss too!) She may not know who I am anymore, but she made it clear that she wanted a kiss from me before I left. She got her kiss.

Summer Reading Gone By

What have I been reading this summer?

Vita Consecrata by Pope John Paul II

Mulieris Dignitatem by Pope John Paul II

Father Elijah by Michael O'Brien

The Gospel of St. Matthew (RSV)

In Conversation with God by Fr. Francis Fernandez

The Eucharist by St. Alphonsus de Liguori

True Devotion to Mary by St. Louis de Montfort

Memory and Identity by Pope John Paul II

The Jeweller's Shop by Pope John Paul II

Pope John Paul II: In My Own Words by Pope John Paul II

The Truth of Catholicism by George Weigel

The Cube and the Cathedral by George Weigel

Christianity and the Crisis of Cultures by Pope Benedict XVI

Ok, so I'll admit we're a little heavy on the Pope John Paul II, but can you really blame me? Some of these texts (The Jeweller's Shop and Mulieris Dignitatem) I'd read before but were well worth a second read through. Some of these books I couldn't really sit down and read straight through all at once but had to take my time with because they were heavy to digest (True Devotion to Mary and The Eucharist [which I'm still working on]). I didn't get as much reading done over my summer break as I had hoped for but such is life.

Queenship of Mary

From this week's bulletin. . .

"Pius XII established this Feast in 1954. But Mary's queenship has roots in Scripture. At the Annunciation Gabriel announced that Mary's Son would receive the throne of David and rule forever. At the Visitation, Elizabeth calls Mary "mother of my Lord." As in all the mysteries of Mary's life, Mary is closely associated with Jesus: Her queenship is a share in Jesus' kingship. We can also recall that in the Old Testament the mother of the king has great influence in court.

In the fourth century St. Ephrem called Mary "Lady" and "Queen" and Church Fathers and Doctors continued to use the title. Hymns of the eleventh to thirteenth centuries adress Mary as queen: "Hail, Holy Queen," "Hail, Queen of Heaven." The Dominican rosary and the Franciscan crown as well as numerous invocations in Mary's litany celebrate her queenship.

The feast is a logical follow-up to the Assumption and is now celebrated on the octave day of that feast. In his encyclical To the Queen of Heaven, Pius XII points out that Mary deserves the title because she is Mother of God, because she is closesly associated as the New Eve with Jesus' redemptive work, because of her preeminent perfection and because of her intercessory power."

Monday, August 21, 2006

Another Day

A day in the life of me. . .

Get up. Go to Mass. Go make breakfast for grandparents and help grandpa eat. Dishes. Clean kitchen. Go grocery shopping for grandparents. Assemble pastery dough for 1/2 dozen pies for mom. Visit the other grandparents and wash Oma's hair. Back to paternal grandparents. Make them lunch. Feed grandpa lunch. Dishes. Clean kitchen. Make two lasagnas to put in the freezer for mom. Clean kitchen. Go to the gym. Stop by the church for a visit. Back to grandparents. Back home for dinner with my family and the other grandparents. Pick blackberries for the pies. Back to grandparents. Home around 9:45 pm. Talk with parents. Bath. Bedtime?!

Another typical day. Another day that I feel I got absolutely nothing done. I was doing stuff all day but I don't feel that I actually did anything. . . if that makes any sense. I go back to the city next week and my "to do list" for the summer hasn't shrunk much. Oh well.

St. Alphonsus Quote of the Day

"Be assured that the time you will thus spend with devotion before this most divine Sacrament will be the most profitable to you in life, and the source of your greatest consolation in death and in eternity. You must also be aware, that in a quarter of an hour's prayer spent in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, you will perhaps gain more than in all the other spiritual exercises of the day. It is true, that in every place God graciously hears the petitions of those who pray to him, having promised to do so: Ask and you shall receive; yet the disciple tells us that Jesus dispenses his graces in greater abundance to those who visit him in the Most Holy Sacrament. Blessed Henry Suso used also to say that Jesus Christ hears the prayers of the faithful more graciously in the sacrament of the altar than elsewhere. And where, indeed, did holy souls make their most beautiful resolutions, but prostrate before the Most Holy Sacrament?"
- St. Alphonsus De Liguori in The Eucharist

Question of the Day

"What do I still lack?"
(Matt 19:20)

Quote of the Day

"In the Eucharist it is Christ himself who gives shelter to the traveller worn out by the roughness of the road. Christ comforts man with the warmth of his understanding and love. In the Eucharist there is the fulfilment of those sweet words: "Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest (Matt 11:28)." This personal and profound assistance is to be found in the divine Bread which Christ offers to us at the eucharistic table. This is our final end as we travel the ways of this world."

- Pope John Paul II

Divine Providence

Yesterday I had a “day off” from taking care of my grandparents and spent the day up the lake at our neighbour's float cabin. I knew that much of the day would be spent lying around on their deck in the sun so I decided to bring along some reading material. As I scanned my bookshelf this morning I grabbed Trustful Surrender to Divine Providence: The Secret of Peace and Happiness by Fr. Jean Baptiste Saint Jure, S.J. and Saint Claude de la Colombiere, S.J.

Trustful Surrender to Divine Providence is a little book that was given to me by a friend back in November last year but I hadn't actually taken the time to read it before yesterday. Perhaps I wasn't ready to read it back then. It goes beyond the age old question of “Why do bad things happen to good people?” to say that not only do so called bad things happen because of God's permissive will and the free will given to each individual person, but furthermore these “bad things” are in fact positive in that they have a role to play in God's divine plan for our us. They shape us and form us to become more and more like Christ. That's something that I, like most people I think, sometimes struggle to accept. I found though that reading this little book helped me to make more sense of this difficult and mysterious topic of God's divine providence.

I spent most of the day laying in the sun reading this book (yes I got a sunburn) cover to cover. I'll have to go back and read over it again taking the time to particularly reflect upon certain parts, but here are some of the passages that really struck me:

“A glove is not more fitted to a hand or a sword to a scabbard than what He does and ordains in us and for us is suited to our strength and capabilities, so that everything may serve to our advantage and perfection if we but cooperate with the designs of His providence.”
Fr. Jean Baptiste Saint Jure, S.J. (p. 31)

“Should we attribute it to God when we are unjustly persecuted? Yes, He is the only person you can charge with the wrong you suffer. He is not the cause of the sin the person commits by ill-treating you, but He is the cause of the suffering that person inflicts on you while sinning.”
Saint Claude de la Colombiere, S.J. (p. 96)

“The happiness of the person whose will is entirely submitted to God's is constant, unchangeable and endless.”
Saint Claude de la Colombiere, S.J. (p. 104)

“Whatever the manner of our life we should always accept adversity joyfully. If we are leading a good life adversity purifies us, makes us better and enables us to acquire greater merit. If our life is sinful it serves to bring us to repentance and obliges us to become good.”
Saint Claude de la Colombiere, S.J. (p. 116)

“It would be hating you, not loving you, to take away your cross before giving you the virtues you lack.”
- Saint Claude de la Colombiere, S.J. (p.121)

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Thanksgiving After Communion

"There is no prayer more agreeable to God, or mor profitable to the soul, than that which is made during the thanksgiving after Communion. It is the opinion of many grave writers (Suarez, Cajetan, Valentia, De Lugo, and others), that the Holy Communion, so long as the sacramental species lasts, constantly produces greater and greater graces in the soul, provided the soul is then constant in disposing itself by new acts of virtue. The Council of Florence, in the decree of Eugenius IV to the Armenians, teaches that the Blessed Sacrament produces the same effect in the soul as material food, which, when it enters the body, takes effect according to the state in which it finds it.

For this reason, holy souls endeavor to remain as long as possible in prayer after Communion. The Venerable Father Avila, even when he was given his missions, used to remain for at least two hours in prayer. Father Balthasar Alvarez used to say, that we should set great value on the time after Communion, imagining that we hear from the lips of Jesus Christ himself the words that he addressed to his disciples: But Me you have not always with you."

I came across this passage in The Holy Eucharist by St. Alphonsus de Liguori earlier today and I thought it served as a good reminder to take the time to thank Jesus for the gift of Himself in the Blessed Sacrament, particularly after having received Him in this most precious sacrament at Mass. I know that few of us have as much as two hours to spend in thanksgiving, but we could all spare a few minutes at the end of Mass.

This passage reminds me of a story one of my Theology professors told me. . . small 't' tradition has it that there was a man who used to frequently attend Mass when St. Alphonsus de Liguori was celebrating yet this particular man would always leave immediately after having received the Blessed Sacrament and before the end of Mass. One day St. Alphonsus gave special instructions to his altar servers before Mass began. When the man, as usual, went to leave the Church after having received the Eucharist two altar servers quietly picked up their candles and followed him out of the church and walked alongside him with their lit candles as he made his way down the street. St. Alphonsus did this to remind the man that Christ was still present with him in the Blessed Sacrament he had just consumed.


Here is my random question of the day (as I've said before, I'm a curious person):

Apparently you're allowed to receive the Eucharist twice during the same day, and a third time if after the first two times you're in danger of death. Does anticipatory (vigil) Mass count as being on the same day as morning Mass?

I don't know if this makes any sense, but it's a question stuck in my head now. Not that it really matters because I probably will never find myself in this situation.

Let's see if I can be clearer:

1. Morning Mass - receive Communion

2. Afternoon Mass (i.e. if you happened to attend a funeral or wedding) - receive Communion

3. Anticipatory/Vigil Mass - can you receive Communion?
(Does this count for today or the next day?)

Media's Impact on Youth

From a recent Zenit article:

"It is well established by a compelling body of scientific evidence that television violence is harmful to children." The harmful effects include: the learning of aggressive behaviors; desensitization toward victims of violence; and increased fear of being victimized by violence. The article notes that literally hundreds of studies support the conclusion that viewing televised violence leads to increases in subsequent aggression. The chances of encountering violent content on TV are high. One three-year study found that 60% of all shows sampled contained some form of violence. Moreover, much of the violence appears "sanitized" and fails to show realistic harm to victims. In addition, often the violence is committed by attractive characters who suffer no remorse or criticism for their behavior. Sanitized or glamorous violence, note Kunkel and Zwarun, increases the risks of harmful effects on children. Quantity concerns Worries over these negative effects are compounded by data showing how much time children spend exposed to media. On May 24 the Kaiser Family Foundation released a study showing that many busy parents encourage television use among their children. The report, "Media Family: Electronic Media in the Lives of Infants, Toddlers, Preschoolers, and Their Parents," was based on a national survey of 1,051 parents with children aged 6 months to 6 years old and a series of focus groups across the United States. According to the study, in a typical day 83% of children under the age of 6 use screen media (TV, videos, computer), averaging almost two hours a day. In many homes the TV is a nearly constant presence, from the living room to the dining room and the bedroom. One-third of the children surveyed have a TV in their bedrooms. The report did point out that well-designed educational programs can be beneficial for children. As well, many parents reported being satisfied with the television programs their children watch. At the same time many parents expressed guilt about their children's media use, believing that they should be spending more time with their kids. Some expressed concerns that they may have set in motion something they soon won't be able to control: that today's educational shows will give way to violent video games. The study also found that many children are exposed to television when their parents are watching adult shows. In fact, a third of children live in homes where parents simply leave the TV on most of the day, period [. . .] The article observed that children aged 4 to 12 average 864 hours a year in front of the TV screen, compared with 960 going to school. The potential for good, but also the need for vigilance, regarding media usage was dealt with by Benedict XVI in his message for the 40th World Communications Day. In the text the Pope called upon the media to be a protagonist of truth and promoter of peace, and to avoid the distortions that occur when "the media industry becomes self-serving or solely profit-driven, losing the sense of accountability to the common good" (No. 3). Benedict XVI also noted the importance of forming people to help them use the media intelligently and appropriately. Secular research seems to indicate that that task is more necessary than ever." ZE06081901

It's articles like this that make me want to say, once again "Thank-you Mom and Dad for raising us without TV!" That's right. I grew up without a television in the house. Amazing really, isn't it? I'm not Amish. I'm not eighty years old. I live in North America, attended public school, and come from a middle class family, yet, somehow I managed to grow up without a T.V.

When I was little I sure whined and complained about the lack of television in the house. Everyone else (and this is no exageration) in my class at school had a TV. People used to think I was strange when I didn't have a clue with regards to the plots in the most popular after school programs. I remember once sitting in class in high school and the other girls around me were talking about this person Mark who had slept with Jenny who had a baby with Paul. . . etc. . . Sadly, considering that my hometown has the highest teen pregnancy rate in the province, I wasn't totally shocked, but I thought this was a little extreme for the lives of my peers. . . it wasn't until later that I figured out that they were talking about a soap opera they all watched.

Often my friends would be puzzled by the lack of TV in our house. Not having a TV was beyond all understanding for most of my peers. We could have afforded to have a TV in the house but it was a conscious choice on the part of my parents not to have one.

Though sometimes I felt "left out" and as if I were "missing out" by not having a TV, now that I'm older, I'm grateful we didn't have one. What did we do with those three or four extra hours a day we had since we weren't watching TV? Instead of watching TV I did crafts, played outside with the neighbourhood kids, took piano and clarinet lessons, was in soccer, softball, and swimming, took ballet and jazz dance lessons, volunteered at the local nursing home, sang in a community choir, etc. . . I was a busy kid. I didn't need a TV to keep me occupied. I also doubt my Dad would have read me the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy out loud if we'd had a TV.

In the interest of full disclosure, when we were all teenagers my parents reluctantly bought a television and VCR so that we could watch movies with our friends at our house. That way my parents figured they could keep an eye on what we were watching. This was probably a smart move on their part and they made a point of watching and discussing the movies with us. Even then though all we had was a VCR and a TV. No channels. None whatsoever.

My mom is so reluctant about having a TV in the house that she hides it. . . underneath a blanket and behind a framed print of a Madonna and Child!!! It's actually quite funny when people first come over to watch a movie at our house. They sit down in the family room and ask, "Where's the TV?" "Oh, just wait a second," I'll reply, as I remove the blanket that covers the TV and move the image of the Madonna and Child that is leaning against the front of it.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Another Reason to Party

According to the weekly Archdiocesan e-mail update

"today is the Feast Day of St. Agapitus, St. Aimo Taparelli, St. Alberto Hurtado Cruchaga, St. Crispus, St. Daig Maccairaill, St. Evan, St. Firminus of Metz, St. Florus, St. Helena, St. Hermas, St. James Guengoro, St. Jeanne de Chantal, St. John, St. Juliana, St. Laurus, St. Leo, St. Macarius the Wonder Worker, St. Mary Guengoro, St. Raynald of Ravenna, St. Ronan of Iona, St. Thomas Guengoro... WHEW!"

Another reason to be happy to be Catholic!

Cardinal Arinze on Liturgical Dance

I saw in one place -- I will not tell you where -- where they staged a dance during Mass, and that dance was offensive. It broke the rules of moral theology and modesty. Those who arranged it -- they should have had their heads washed with a bucket of holy water!
- Cardinal Arinze

To read more, check this out.

Purity in the World

"What do you want us to do? Go up into the mountains and become monks? What you are saying makes me want to cry. You think that modesty and chastity are just for monks? No. Christ laid down common laws for all of us. And so, when He said: 'everyone who looks at a woman lustfully' (Matt 5:28), He was not speaking to a monk, but to the man in the street... I do not forbid you to marry, nor do I forbid you to enjoy life. I only ask that you do this with temperance, not with impurity, not with countless sins. I do not lay it down as a law that you go into the mountains and out into the desserts. I want you to be good, modest and chaste even though you are in the middle of the world."
- St. John Chrysostom, Homilies on St. Matthew's Gospel

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Mother's Prayers

My mom has a little prayer book for mothers to Our Lady of La Leche. I was flipping through it tonight and came across some beautiful prayers. Here are some of the more unique prayers that I came across (sadly, these could probably be used by most mothers at some point. . .):

For a Child Exposed to Moral Danger
Mother most pure, from your very conception you were guarded from the least stain of sin. Speak to your divine Son with me now for the protection of my child against dangers of soul. You know how greatly sin offends God and you abhor it. You know, too, how horrible sin is because of all that your divine Son suffered on account of it. Ask him now to defend my child from all dangers of sin that threaten. Please ask him to grant the protection of his grace, so that grievous sin will not possess the soul of my child and prevent us from sharing happiness together in heaven! Amen.

For a Wayward Son
Holy Mother of Sorrows, you endured a most bitter agony for wayward children as you stood beside your crucified Son, and you know the dreadful tragedy of sin. Now my son has gone astray in a life of sin. Have pity on him. I know that you love him, Mother, because he is mine; I bore him and cared for him. I know that you love him dearly, too, because you suffered so much for his salvation. Please, then, pray now to your Son with me: remind your Son how much my boy means to him and to you and to me. Mother, obtain guidance for my child that will lead him gently and surely back to the right way, and bring him to understand the power of your intercession and the love of your divine Son. Amen.

For a Wayward Daughter
Holy Virgin Mary, you are the consecration and the protectress of all Christian womanhood. The glory of your own pure womanhood is dear to you and you wish to see its beauty reflected in all your daughters. Let the image of this womanhood then shine upon my precious daughter. May the grace of your divine Son touch her heart and awaken there a love for you and for the womahood that is resplendent in you. May it guide her erring feet and bring her back to your Son in holiness of life. Shelter her, Mary, beneath your protecting mantle and take her close in your motherly embrace. Remember that she is your child as well as mine and needs your protection as her mother, more than the many who have not strayed. To you, Mother, I commend her; speak to your Son with me for her restoration to a holy and virtuous life. Amen.

Quote of the Day

"Nothing makes us more unto God
than to be always willing to forgive."

- St. John Chrysostom

Creative Nutrition

Over the past week my Oma who has alzheimers has been increasingly having problems eating. This obviously is a concern because if she's not eating properly her condition wil deteriorate more quickly. She tends to chew her food but won't swallow it and spits it back on her plate. I know that's disgusting, but that's what we're facing now. My cousin was joking with me last night that we could write a book and market this as the zero calorie diet. . . "Eat all you want and zero calorie intake!" We could make millions. Joking aside, we're concerned Oma's not eating properly. My Aunt had a creative idea (this is the good kind of creativity) that she tried out a few days ago though. . .

My grandparents were over at my Aunt and Uncle's for dinner and Oma wasn't eating her meal. When my grandparents are over at their house for dinner though they often have a drink afterwards. A lightbulb went off in my Aunt's head and she proceeded to make my Oma a drink. She decided she'd make her a brown cow (Kaluha and Milk) but substitute the milk with Ensure (a high calorie nutritional supplement drink). My Oma drank the entire thing! I guess you do whatever it takes to get the nutrients in! Hehehe. . .

Fr. Finigan on Creative Liturgy

Fr. Finigan has a fantastic post up on what he refers to as "creative liturgy." He points out that there is indeed room for creativity in the liturgy, yet within the proper context!

". . .creativity is certainly at the service of liturgy but must never become its primary characteristic. Palestrina, Byrd, Bach and Mozart contributed their creative genius to the enhancement of the Liturgy but they worked within a given framework. They composed settings for the Kyrie, for example, which was sung in its proper place. Where creativity meant that a part of the Liturgy was given disproportionate emphasis, this was regarded as an abuse and worthy of correction. Today, many people see "a liturgy" as something entirely framed by our own creative abilities. So instead of the text of the Gloria, we are given something else, an "adaptation" to suit the creative taste of the composer or our preferences."

St. Hyacinth

Moniales OP has put up an interesting post on St. Hyacinth. I'd never heard of St. Hyacinth until today. Yet another reason to be thankful for being Catholic. . . I'm always learning something new.

Since not much is known about St. Hyacinth, the story of his life is interwoven with many beautiful legends. Here is one particularly moving story brought to us by the tradition: One day, during his mission in Ruthenia, Hyacinth was celebrating the Holy Mass in a church in Kiev. When he finished, someone told him that the Tartars had invaded the town, plundering homes and murdering the inhabitants. Without thinking, Hyacinth took the ciborium with the Blessed Sacrament from the altar and intended to runaway. Suddenly he heard a voice: 'Hyacinth, you have taken my Son but you are leaving me?' After this he took the statute of the Blessed Mother, which felt weightless under his arm, and safely left the city. He crossed the Dniepr River traveling to Halicz and returned to Krakow via Lvov.

Representative of the first Polish Dominicans, Saint Hyacinth was an excellent preacher and missionary. He sought to demonstrate to the people of Poland the true values of authentic Christianity. He was a true shepherd of souls, sensitive to the peoples' needs and tribulations. He studied, preached, heard confessions and visited the sick, serving his fellow men in word and deed and giving them an example to follow.

(go here to read more)

Prayer Intentions or Gossip

Sometimes I feel as if prayer intentions, or requests for prayer, made on behalf of other people contribute to feeding gossip in the parish rather than fostering prayer. Some parishes I've attended Mass at invite the parishoners at daily Mass to give their own intentions during the petitions at Mass. Generally speaking, this doesn't seem to be a problem. . . "For all women facing a crisis pregnancy, let us pray to the Lord. . . " or "For the Holy Souls in Purgatory, let us pray to the Lord. . ." That's fine by me. The problem arises when the petitions become "For Judy and James who are struggling in their marriage, let us pray to the Lord. . ." or "For Kyle who attempted suicide last night, let us pray to the Lord. . ." I wonder if these intentions are appropriate to be announced at Mass or rather contribute to gossip. Now, don't get me wrong, I agree that Judy, James, and Kyle would all need prayers and that we should be praying for them, but is it really necessary to use names? How about "For all those who are struggling in their vocation. . ." or "For those suffering from depression. . ." or even "For a special intention. . ."

Gossip is something most people struggle with and I really don't think giving specifics in public prayer intentions is always the best thing, rather it seems to lead to a temptation to gossip. For instance, I've even heard intentions such as "For Fr. X who's discerning leaving the priesthood. . ." Now, if that's not going to feed gossip I don't know what is! I'm not saying we shouldn't be praying for one another, but in the context of parish life, is it really appropriate to be announcing intentions in this way?

That's my little rant for the day.

Go in the peace of Christ, to love and serve the Lord!

A Journey Toward Christ

A close "real life" friend of mine has started her own blog. I wonder if this is due in part to peer pressure. . . positive peer pressure of course. Her blog is called A Journey Toward Christ and here's an excerpt from her first post:

I am a very devote Catholic, who is discerning the life of the Consecrated life of The Poor Clares. I have fallen in love with Christ and I am just praying that this will of God will be reality in me soon. I ask all those who read this to please keep me in your prayers as I continue on this journey.

I'm happy to welcome her to St. Blogs, but I don't know how long she'll be around. I have a feeling that the Poor Clares don't blog. Although, you never know, precedent has already been set for blogging contemplative sisters.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Quote of the Day

"What words can adequately describe God's gifts? They are so numerous that they defy enumeration. They are so great that any one of them demands our total gratitude in response."
- St. Basil the Great

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Prayers for Postulant

Please pray for my friend Janet who is beginning her postulancy with the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia (a.k.a. The Nashville Dominicans) this week. While you're at it, you may as well pray for all postulants. And since it's only fair, you should also add in some prayers for seminarians. These brothers and sisters in Christ certainly need our prayers.

Pope Benedict XVI on the Assumption

Feast of Assumption is reminder that love conquers hatred, pope says

By Catholic News Service

CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy (CNS) -- The feast of Mary's assumption into heaven is a reminder that in the end, love and peace will conquer hatred and violence, Pope Benedict XVI said.

Celebrating an early morning Mass Aug. 15 in the small parish church at Castel Gandolfo and reciting the Angelus at noon with visitors to the papal summer residence, the pope prayed for Mary's intercession for peace in the world.

Mary's assumption, body and soul, into heaven is a divine reassurance that "love, and not hatred, will conquer. Peace will win," the pope told the 200 people crowded into the Church of St. Thomas.

Those inside included Cardinal Angelo Sodano, who is about to retire as Vatican secretary of state, and Msgr. Georg Ratzinger, the pope's older brother, who is staying at the summer residence.

Even though the Mass began at 8 a.m. on a major Italian holiday, the small square shared by the church and the papal villa was filled with people who could not get into the church for the pope's Mass. They watched the Mass on a big screen, and priests were sent out to distribute Communion.

Giving his homily without using a text or notes, Pope Benedict said the saints "are mirrors of God's light" and, particularly in Mary, "we can see his beauty, love and mercy."

"We can venerate Mary because she is blessed ... because she is united with God and lives in God," he said.

"She shows us how we can become blessed," the pope said.

The first, fundamental step is to believe, to have faith in God, he said.

Pope Benedict said the "fear of the Lord" praised by the prophets is not an anguished trembling, but "like children with their father, it is a concern not to destroy love."

Believing is not an intellectual exercise or a matter of thinking profound thoughts, he said. "It is a way of life."

In many cases, the pope said, "if a piece of information is not true, our lives won't change, but if God does not exist, everything changes. If God does not exist, life is empty and has no meaning."

Believing that God exists gives direction to a person's life, he said.

"To believe is to attach ourselves to God, to live in him," he said.

Believing does not mean living free from danger, he said.

In the face of the "dark forces" of the world, it often seems that the church and its members are defenseless, Pope Benedict said. But that should not be surprising, he added.

"God is vulnerable, because love is vulnerable," he said.

During the Mass, the pope prayed "that humanity would know a period of peace."

And during the Angelus later, he said, "to the Queen of Peace, whom we contemplate today in her heavenly glory, I want to entrust once again the worries of humanity for every place in the world torn by violence."

The pope said that in a special way he wanted to join the prayers of Lebanese celebrating the feast at the Shrine of Our Lady of Lebanon in Harissa, north of Beirut, and the prayers of the Catholics of Israel and the Palestinian territories celebrating at the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth.

"My thoughts also go to the dear nation of Sri Lanka, threatened by the deterioration of the ethnic conflict, (and) to Iraq, where the frightening and daily trail of blood lessens the prospects for reconciliation and reconstruction," he said.

Pope Benedict prayed that Mary would help people learn to understand each other and make a commitment to finding agreement.

Quote of the Day

"What shall we do, you ask, in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament? Love him, adore him, thank him and ask him. What does a poor man do in the presence of a rich man? A sick man in the presence of a doctor? One who is thirsty at the sight of a crystal-clear fountain?"
- St. Alphonsus Liguori

George Weigel on Hymns

Mulier Fortis brought to my attention a wonderful article by George Weigel on theologically incorrect and otherwise annoying hymns used in Catholic Churches. Sadly, I was familiar with every hymn he referred to. I responded to Mulier Fortis' post with a little rant of my own. I thought I'd share with you.

Sing to the Mountains
Why are we singing to the mountains and the sea when Jesus is present in the Tabernacle and on the Altar? How about sing to Jesus?

I am the Bread of Life
I am the Resurrection
I will sweep away your transgressions
I am neither the Bread of Life, nor the Resurrection, nor am I capable of sweeping away your transgressions so I don't know why I have to sing these silly songs in the presence of the one who is the Bread of Life and the Resurrection, and who will sweep away your transgressions. I agree with George Weigel. Get rid of all the I am God/I am Jesus songs. I find these incredibly frustrating. Also included in this list are
- You are Mine
- Alleluia, I will Come
- Return to Me
- This is my Body
- I Will Never Forget You

I have no problem with more modern hymns so long as they are theologically correct and don't distract from the liturgy.

That being said, one of my other pet peeves is whenever Tantum Ergo, O Salutaris,O Sanctissima, Ubi Caritas, Veni Creator, Adoro Te Devote, Salve Regina, Ave Maria, Pange Lingua, etc... are sung in English. I'm no Latin buff and I don't even attend Latin Mass regularly, but can we at least just keep these in Latin?

Ok, that's enough of my rant.

Oh, speaking of George Weigel though, I should probably remind everyone out West that he's going to be giving a conference in Victoria, BC, called Discovering the Catholic Way of Life on the weekend of September 22nd and 23rd. You can get more information at this website.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Solemnity of the Assumption

Happy Solemnity of
the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary!

This happens to be our parish feast day here in my hometown. Sadly, there seems to be a serious lack of organized celebration of this fact though. Perhaps I should throw a party. . .

Busy Researching

I've been quiet blogging these days because I'm working on researching and putting together a major project on Desolation Sound Marine Park for the Biology Course I'm doing by correspondence this summer. I've started to feel the pressure knowing that in a couple weeks I'll be back to school and I'm taking six courses this next semester so I decided I better get this correspondence course out of the way.

In other news, I had tea today with a couple of Jehovah's Witnesses and a dear friend of mine who just graduated from Thomas Aquinas College. Whenever we both happen to be in town the Jehovah's Witnesses seem to invite themselves over for tea. It's good fun. Especially when they get stumped by our questions. I always seem to leave these conversations with a greater appreciation for the Catholic Faith!

In other other news, tomorrow is the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Don't miss it!

Quote of the Day

"When two pieces of wax are put into the fire, they melt and become a single thing. Something similar occurs when we participate in the Body of Christ and in his Precious Blood."
- St. Cyril of Alexandria

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Advice from the Holy Father

"Young people are very generous but when they face the risk of a life-long commitment, be it marriage or a priestly vocation, they are afraid. The world is moving dramatically: nowadays I can continually do whatever I want with my life with all its unpredictable future events. By making a definitive decision am I myself not tying up my personal freedom and depriving myself of freedom of movement? Reawaken the courage to make definitive decisions: they are really the only ones that allow us to grow, to move ahead and to reach something great in life. They are the only decisions that do not destroy our freedom but offer to point us in the right direction. Risk making this leap, so to speak, towards the definitive and so embrace life fully: this is something I'd be happy to communicate to them."
- Pope Benedict XVI

Where to?

Over the past few months a big question in my mind has been, "What am I going to do next April when I graduate?" Now, I know, I should not be anxious about this, but practically speaking I can't really just sit around until then expecting something will come up. I have to at least have some sort of plan in the works. If God alters my plans, that's fine by me, but some sort of planning is in fact necessary.

I've been seriously thinking about doing either a Masters or Licentiate in Theology (if I could get into the Licentiate program). I am particularly interested in studying the Theology of the Body.

If I do end up doing that I'm thinking that I'd be better to do that sooner rather than later. And so, these are the places I've been looking at:

The Angelicum
(Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas, Rome)

The John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family
(Catholic University of America, Washington, DC)

The John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family
(Melbourne, Australia)

Last night though I was speaking with a friend of mine who just graduated from Thomas Aquinas College. We were discussing our future plans and she mentioned to me that she knows of several people who have gone on to study at The International Theological Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family in Austria. I hadn't heard of this program before but I spent some time looking through their website it sounds appealing.

The International Theological Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family (ITI) is a Papal Institute for the study of Theology as well as specialized theological studies on marriage and the family. Founded in 1996 at the initiative of Pope John Paul II, the ITI seeks to be a place of interchange between diverse cultures, and a living experience of the Church universal.
The aims of the ITI are threefold:
1. To provide studies in Theology as well as specialized theological studies on marriage and the family;
2. To form by such studies those who are preparing themselves for tasks in the various areas of the Church’s life, especially in the area of marriage and the family;
3. To organize seminars, symposia and conferences as an aid to the local Churches and to the Holy See in promoting an authentic vision of marriage and family life.

And as if that's not enough, "most of the students are housed in the dorm rooms of the Kartause – the 14th Century former Carthusian monastery." Sounds good to me! I think I'll have to add this one to the list.

I invite anyone reading this to make their own suggestions as to where I should look into going to continue my studies. If you've studied at any of these places or know anyone who has, feel free to share your experiences and insights.

Quote of the Day

"The source of justice is not vengeance but charity."
- Saint Bridget of Sweden

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Quote of the Day

"Make friends with the angels, who though invisible are always with you. . . . Often invoke them, constantly praise them, and make good use of their help and assistance in all your temporal and spiritual affairs. "
- St. Francis de Sales

Friday, August 11, 2006

First Mass Holy Card (1933)

This evening I passed by my maternal grandparents on my way home to check in on them and see how their day went. Somehow the topic of conversation led my eighty-six year old Opa and I to sit down at the kitchen table and flip through his 1964 French/Latin Daily Roman Missal. Interspersed throughout the pages of his missal were dozens of holy cards. Most of them were from funerals of deceased relatives and friends, although flipping through the pages we also discovered this this one. This holy card is in commemoration of my Oma's brother's first Mass after his ordination to the priesthood in 1933. I spent quite some time tonight trying to decipher the various verses and quotes written on the holy card.

On the front of the card is an image of "Heilige Elisabeth von Thüringen" (Saint Elizabeth of Thüringen). I'd never heard of her until tonight so I looked her up and apparently she's also known as St. Elizabeth of Hungary. She was a hungarian princess who personally cared for the poor and was dedicated to feeding the hungry. I wonder what led my great uncle to have a particular devotion to her. . ,

Underneath the name of "H. Elisabeth von Thüringen" are three verses. The first is an excerpt from the beatitudes in Matthew 25, the second is John 12:8 ("The poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me."), and the third is apparently from Genesis although I'm having a hard time figuring out where in Genesis. The verse says "Du selbst (o Gott), willst mein ubergrosser Lohn sein" which according to my own rough translation means "You alone (o Lord), want to be my great reward."

The back side of the card says at the top "Praise be to God and peace to all men." Right under this is a quote from St. Augustine. After a little searching I found this quote translated in English as "O venerable dignity of priests, in whose hands the Son of God becomes incarnate." In the middle of the card it simply indicates that the holy card is in memory of his Ordination and First Mass and then gives the dates of his ordination and his First Mass, the names of the churches in which they were celebrated, and the city in which he was ordained. At the bottom it says (roughly translated) "Through the Grace of God I am what I am, a priest of the Lord. Therefore I am happy and my soul rejoices." Apparently this verse refers to St. Paul (1 Cor 15?) and Isaiah.

Fr. Martin Müller was ordained to the priesthood in 1933. He was an Augustinian priest from Würzburg, in Germany. Along with several other Augustinians he went briefly to New York the year he was ordained and then to Racine, Wisconsin in the early 1940s before moving to Canada in 1943.

On the invitation of Archbishop William Duke of Vancouver, the Augustinians came to Ladner in 1943. Besides their commitment to establish a retreat house and to open a Marian shrine under the title of Mother of Consolation, the Augustinians were also to be responsible for the needs of Sacred Heart Parish. My mom and her siblings used to spend their summer holidays visiting their uncle and staying at the guesthouse in the monastery. Also among the holy cards we were searching through tonight I discovered a holy card in remembrance of a retreat my Opa made at the Augustinian monastery in Ladner in the days leading up to his wedding to my Oma in 1952.

Fr. Martin died of cancer in December of 1984 when my mom was pregnant with me. Please pray for the repose of his soul and all priests who have died.

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

Update: Gerald Augustinus from The Cafeteria is Closed was kind enough to help me out and he came up with the following translation for the back of the card (I wasn't too far off!):

As for the front and being puzzled about the reference to Genesis 15:

The only thing in chapter 15 that comes close is verse 1.

After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, "Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great."

uebergrosser Lohn = very great reward

Married and Blessed

I posted a couple weeks ago about Antonia's upcoming wedding. Well, she's married now and back from her honeymoon. . . to Rome. . . where she and her beloved husband got to kiss Pope Benedict XVI's hand and pray at Pope John Paul II's tomb. I'd say that's a nice way to start off a marriage. ;-)

Keep praying for the newly weds.

Let's Dance!

Fr. Stephanos, O.S.B., shows us that the Holy Father does know how to dance. . . in the right context of course.

Quote of the Day

"I have my room, some books and a nearby chapel. That is complete happiness."
- St. Miguel of Equador

Thursday, August 10, 2006


Today I just happened to be reading through the marriage preparation guidelines for a random Cathedral in North America. In charity I won't say which one. I just wanted to point out that I find this paragraph to be lacking some spine:

"In cases where the couple is a little lax in the practice of their faith there may be some gentle challenges extended to you to assist you in your return to a regular faith practice. Don't worry, we will be pastorally sensitive and we will be interested in listening to you. After all, sometimes people drift away from the Church for awhile. We hope the time of your preparation for marriage will be a time for you to renew your ties with the Church in a positive manner as you strive to live a relationship that is founded on Christian values and faith in God."

Hmmmm. . . I think this paragraph could use some reworking.

St. Benedict on Humility

"The eleventh degree of humility
is that when a monk speaks
he do so gently and without laughter,
humbly and seriously,
in few and sensible words,
and that he be not noisy in his speech.
It is written,
"A wise man is known by the fewness of his words"
(Sextus, Enchidirion, 134 or 145)."
The Rule of St. Benedict, Chapter 7

Sigh... I've got a long ways to go.

St. Lawrence and the True Treasures

"Third-century archdeacon of Rome, distributor of alms, and "keeper of the treasures of the church" in a time when Christianity was outlawed. On 6 August 258, by decree of Emperor Valerian, Pope Saint Sixtus II and six deacons were beheaded, leaving Lawrence as the ranking Church official in Rome. While in prison awaiting execution Sixtus reassured Lawrence that he was not being left behind; they would be reunited in four days. Lawrence saw this time as an opportunity to disperse the material wealth of the church before the Roman authorities could lay their hands on it. On 10 August Lawrence was commanded to appear for his execution, and to bring along the treasure with which he had been entrusted by the pope. When he arrived, the archdeacon was accompanied by a multitude of Rome's crippled, blind, sick, and indigent. He announced that these were the true treasures of the Church. " (source)

St. Lawrence, pray for us!

Daily Dose of Aquinas

Are you craving for more Aquinas? Wanting to wrap your head around the Summa? Well, I've got the solution for you. One of my professors (I'll be taking Metaphysics and Latin with him this coming semester) has been slowly but surely blogging the Summa. So, for your daily dose of St. Thomas Aquinas, go check out Summa Theologiae.

Here's an example from this past Sunday:

Q34 A2: Whether "Word" is the Son's proper name?

Yes. "Word," said of God in its proper sense, is used personally, and is the proper name of the person of the Son because it signifies an emanation of the intellect (and the person Who proceeds in God, by way of emanation of the intellect, is called the Son)."To be" and "to understand" are not the same in us. Hence that which in us has intellectual being, does not belong to our nature.But in God "to be" and "to understand" are one and the same: hence the Word of God is not an accident in Him, or an effect of His, but belongs to His very nature. And therefore it must needs be something subsistent, for whatever is in the nature of God subsists.The Son's nativity, which is His personal property, is signified by different names, which are attributed to the Son to express His perfection in various ways.To show that He is of the same nature as the Father, He is called the Son.To show that He is co-eternal, He is called the Splendor.To show that He is altogether like, He is called the Image.To show that He is begotten immaterially, He is called the Word.All these truths cannot be expressed by only one name.In God the Word proceeding does not differ really from the divine intellect, but is distinguished from the principle of the Word only by relation.

Blogs such as this help prevent our brains from turning to mush during the summer months! :-)

Quote of the Day

"Consider every day that you are then for the first time beginning; and always act with the same fervor as on the first day you began."
- St. Anthony of Padua

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Japanese English

My oldest brother, who is living in Japan right now, recently took this picture. Apparently they haven't figured out the whole reduse, reuse, and recycle motto in Japan yet.

Gregorian Chant Online

Today I discovered an online radio station that plays Gregorian Chant. It's the perfect background music for studying.


I have a little question for the day. It's not a very important question, I'm just curious. It came to me today when I saw altar server walked between the altar upon which the Blessed Sacrament was exposed in a monstrance and the Tabernacle which is centrally located on the wall behind the altar. The question is, in which direction should he have genuflected? Towards the Blessed Sacrament exposed on the altar? Towards the Blessed Sacrament in the Tabernacle? Or both? Are there any priests or well trained altar servers or people more knowledgeable than I with an answer out there?

In case you're curious as to what he was doing walking around in the sanctuary during exposition, he was going to put out the candles on either side of the Tabernacle since exposition directly followed Mass and the candles at the Tabernacle were still lit (I'm not talking about the vigil candle. . .)

Oh boy, I think this is all very confusing now. Sorry. It's not really important. I'm just a curious kind of person.


Yipee! I found a priest available and willing to commit to leading us in First Friday Eucharistic Adoration during the school year at the small Catholic college I attend. He's also joining the universal hunt for a thurible.

Simple things like this bring great joy to my day. It doesn't take much. ;-)

Quote of the Day

"The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried."
- G.K. Chesterton

Liturgy of the Hours Map

Moneybags, over at A Catholic Life, brought to my attention a new Liturgy of the Hours Frappr Map that someone recently started. I went over and placed my pin although I'm somewhat technologically impaired and put myself in Washington State rather than in British Columbia. Anyways, anyone who prays the Liturgy of the Hours is invited to go place themselves on the map. One of the things I really like about the Liturgy of the Hours is that because it is part of the liturgical prayer of the Church it is always being prayed somewhere. When you pray the Liturgy of the Hours you are joined in the same prayer by your brothers and sisters in Christ throughout the world.

Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross

"O my God, fill my soul with holy joy, courage and strength to serve You. Enkindle Your love in me and then walk with me along the next stretch of road before me. I do not see very far ahead, but when I have arrived where the horizon now closes down, a new prospect will prospect will open before me, and I shall meet it with peace. "
- St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross

Last year, during World Youth Day in Cologne, I visited the Carmelite convent St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein) entered. I was in the neighbourhood waiting to meet up with some seminarian friends from Germany who were at the gathering of seminarians with the Holy Father at Sankt Pantaleon Church. We obviously couldn't get into the area where the seminarians would have their special meeting with Pope Benedict XVI and so our plan had been just to sit around and wait for them. I was sitting in a park adjacent to Sankt Pantaleon Church when I began talking with a small group of Canadian seminarians (obviously recognizing my fellow citizens thanks to their large flags). Among this group was a priest from Ontario (a vocations director by the name of Fr. Paul if I remember correctly...) who pointed out that the Carmelite Convent Edith Stein had belonged to was just down the road and suggested that we girls go and check it out. Since we had nothing better to do and it would be hours before we'd get to catch a glimpse of the Holy Father (which we did) we decided to set out and find this place.

When we arrived there we waited in a line-up to enter into the small chapel. The floor of the chapel was covered in young people, wall to wall, kneeling in Eucharistic Adoration. It was extremely crowded. Very very crowded. It was also very hot. Very hot and muggy. Going there was definitely worth it though. To kneel in Eucharistic Adoration at the Carmel of Cologne, where St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross dedicated her life to this very same person present in the Blessed Sacrament before me, was one of the spiritual highlights of World Youth Day for me.

Prayer for the Feast of St. Teresa Benedicta

Lord, God of our fathers,
you brought Saint Teresa Benedicta
to the fullness of the science of the cross
at the hour of her martyrdom.
Fill us with that same knowledge;
and, through her intercession,
allow us always to seek after you, the supreme truth,
and to remain faithful until death to the covenant of love
ratified in the blood of your Son
for the salvation of all men and women.
We ask this through Christ, our Lord.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006


I'm actually surprised that as of right now 36% of people who voted on my communion rail poll attend parishes that actually use communion rails. . . unless of course, those eight people all come from Fr. Tim Finigan's parish. ;-)

Quote of the Day

"Young people of the world, hear the voice of Christ!
Hear his voice and follow him!"
- Pope John Paul II in Denver at World Youth Day 1993

St. Dominic is Smiling

This is truly a wonderful way to celebrate the Feast of St. Dominic! I'm sure St. Dominic is smiling!

(Hat-Tip: Emily at Holy Whapping)

Gift and Mystery

Yesterday I read Gift and Mystery by Pope John Paul II cover to cover in one sitting. It's a good book and not too difficult to read. The Holy Father wrote the book on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of his priestly ordination. I'd highly recommend it.

"If we immerse our human and priestly "today" in the "today" of Jesus Christ, there is no danger that we will become out-of-date, belonging to "yesterday." Christ is the measure of every age. In his divine, human, and priestly "today," the conflict between "traditionalism" and "progressivism" - once so hotly debated - finds its ultimate resolution."
- Pope John Paul II in Gift and Mystery

St. Dominic


"All the evidence goes to show that St. Dominic was a man of remarkable attractiveness of character and broadness of vision; he had the deepest compassion for every sort of human suffering; he saw the need to use all the resources of human learning in the service of Christ; his constant reading was St. Matthew's gospel, St. Paul's letters and the Conferences of St. John Cassian. The order that he founded was a formative factor in the religious and intellectual life of later medieval Europe; its diffusion is now world-wide." (source)

Has anyone else noticed that there's a pretty solid set of saints with feast days in early August? We're on a role. Tomorrow. . . St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein).

Monday, August 07, 2006

Sacred Heart

This is a picture of a little church, called Sacred Heart, that I particularly like. It's a very simple church but sometimes there is unique beauty in simplicity. It's a mission church on a native reserve served by the parish in my hometown. It's tiny and sits only a couple dozen people comfortably. When you step outside the church you're right on the shore of the Pacific Ocean. Well, there's technically a road between you and the beach. . . when you go up the coast by boat this little white church stands out from among the other buildings on the shoreline.

Here is an excerpt from a book about the area's local history that talks about this little church:

"The priest of the Roman Catholic Sliammon Church [Sacred Heart] had been administering to its congregation since the turn of the century and possibly before. . . Harry Roberts of Roberts Creek told a story of delivering the statue of the Virgin Mary to the church in 1901. [This means that this church, or at least the original structure, was built more than a decade before there were any European settlers in the area.] The first church burned to the ground on Easter morning, 1918, with only the statue of Jesus miraculously untouched by the fire."

The statue mentioned in this paragraph is that of Jesus with the Sacred Heart as seen at the front of the church. Apparently the church burnt to ashes with nothing left standing except this statue which in stood the midst of the ashes with no damage on it from the fire or smoke.

Goodbye, Dear Papa!

I came across the following beautiful article earlier today by someone on the "older" end of the John Paul II generation (as in she was already a teenager when he was elected). In the article she examines the role our beloved Holy Father had in forming her in the Faith and helping her to understand the dignity of women and her particular vocation.

I still miss him.

I'll be taking a course starting in September called "The Theological Vision of Pope John Paul II." I look forward to immersing myself in his writings (although, I'm reading Gift and Mystery right now so apparently I don't need a course to get me to read Pope John Paul II's writings).

Quote of the Day

"To live without faith, without a patrimony to defend, without a steady struggle for truth, that is not living, but existing."
- Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati

What's a Madonna?

Over lunch today I was talking with my Nana about an 80th birthday party she went to last night for a widowed neighbour of my grandparents. He happens to be Roman Catholic and very involved in the parish here. My grandparents belong to the Reformed Church. (Just a little essential background to this little anecdote).

Anyways, she said that they had played an ice-breaker at the dinner where they were given a piece of paper with a list of various descriptions on it and you had to find one person who fit each description. My Nana said that she had a really hard time with the game because she didn't understand all the descriptions. "For instance," she told me "I had no idea what a Madonna was. Do you know what a Madonna is? I was supposed to find someone wearing a Madonna." I just smiled and explained to her that it was an image of Mary and that she would have probably found many of the elderly Catholic ladies there wearing a little medal with a Madonna on it. "Oh," she said.

I guess with her failing vision she hasn't noticed the miraculous medal I wear. ;-)

Communion Rails

I'm not wanting to get into a big debate on whether or not Catholic churches should have communion rails, but I'm just curious as to how many of my readers attend parishes that do have communion rails.

The parish in my hometown had communion rails installed about ten years ago. Most people kneel at the communion rail to receive communion although some people still prefer to stand (and they are free to do so). The parish I attend while away at university doesn't even have pews (they use chairs), let alone kneelers, let alone a communion rail.

Does the church you attend have communion rails?
Yes, and we actually use them.
Yes, but they're not used for distribution of communion.
No, we never have had communion rails.
No, we used to have communion rails but they were removed.
Free polls from Pollhost.com

Math Lesson

Today at morning Mass we had a short Math Lesson. It went something like this:

5 fish + 2 loaves of bread = food for 5 people
5 fish + 2 loaves of bread + God = food for 5000 people


2 + 2 = 4
2 + 2 + God = There are no limits. Anything is possible.

That's the condensed version of the homily, but I think you get the main idea.

For another angle on the same gospel check out the homily Fr. Stephanos, O.S.B., from One Monk prepared.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Eucharistic Souls

"It is only by means of the Eucharist that we are able to live the heroic virtues of Christianity, such as charity to pardon one's enemies, the love which enables us to suffer, the capacity to give one's life for another; chastity at all times of life and in all situations; patience in the face of suffering and the apparent silence of God in human history or our very own existence. Therefore, strive to always be eucharistic souls so as to be authentic Christians."
- Pope John Paul II, Homily, 19 August 1979

The Weight of Mass

I came across this beautiful story at The Cassock And Cotta today. It's a story I've read before that frequently comes back to mind:

The following true story was related to Sister Mary Veronica Murphy by an elderly nun, who heard it from the lips of the late Reverend Father Stanislaus, SS.CC.One day, many years ago, in a little town in Luxembourg, a Captain of the Forest Guards was in deep conversation with the butcher, when an elderly woman entered the shop. The butcher broke off the conversation to ask the old woman what she wanted. She had come to beg for a little meat but had no money. The Captain was amused at the conversation which ensued between the poor woman and the butcher."Only a little meat. . .""But how much are you going to give me?""I am sorry I have no money, but I'll hear Mass for you."Both the butcher and the Captain were very good men, but very indifferent about religion, so they at once began to scoff at the old woman's answer."All right, then," said the butcher. "You go out and hear Mass for me, and when you come back, I'll give you as much meat as the Mass is worth."The woman left the shop and returned later. She approached the counter and the butcher seeing her, said, "All right, then, we'll see."He took a slip of paper and wrote on it, "I heard a Mass for you." He then placed the paper on the scale and a tine bone on the other side, but nothing happened. Next he placed a piece of meat instead of the bone, but still the paper proved heavier. Both men were beginning to feel ashamed of their mockery but continued their game. A large piece of meat was placed in the balanced, but still the paper held its own. The butcher, exasperated, examined the scales, but found they were all right."What do you want, my good woman? Must I give you a whole leg of mutton?"At this, he placed the leg of mutton on the balance, but the paper outweighed the meat. A larger piece of meat was put on, but again the weight remained on the side of the paper. This so impressed the butcher that he was converted, and promised to give the woman her daily ration of meat.As for the Captain, he left the shop a changed man, an ardent lover of daily Holy Mass. Two of his sons became priests, one a Jesuit and the other a Father of the Sacred Heart.Father Stanislaus finished by saying, "I am the religious of the Sacred Heart, and the Captain was my father."From that incident the Captain became a daily Mass goer and his children were trained to follow his example. Later, when his sons became priests, he advised them to offer Holy Mass well every day and never miss the Sacrifice through any fault of their own.