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, May 31, 2007

Allow Christ to Find You

I love Pope John Paul II. I know as cliché as it may sound, I am through and through a member of the so-called "JPII generation". He opened my eyes to not only see Christ but also to see His relevance and real presence in my life. Here is another powerful quote from our beloved Pope John Paul II:

"We can all get lost at times, lost within ourselves or lost in the world about us. Allow Christ to find you, to speak to you, to ask of you whatever He wants."

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Heads up would have been nice. . .

"If someone had told me I would be Pope one day,
I would have studied harder."

- Pope John Paul I

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Comment Moderation

I've decided to enable comment moderation.

I don't object to people asking questions, and I appreciate intelligent conversation and dialogue, however any comments that are disrespectful towards Christ and His Church have no place on my blog.

I know some people will not be happy with my decision to enable comment moderation, however I've decided it's unfortunately necessary.

Chapel Blessing

This picture is from the blessing of the chapel (1947) at the Augustinian Monastery (St. Monica's) in Ladner, BC, where my great uncle was a priest. He's apparently the first priest on the right at the bottom of the picture. I never met him since he died when I was just being formed in my mother's womb.

Encyclical on Catholic Education in Canada?!

I was researching "Catholic Education" in papal documents today when I came across this:



DECEMBER 8, 1897

To the Archbishops, Bishops, and other Ordinaries in the Federated States of Canada in Grace and Communion with the Holy See.

Venerable Brethren, Health and Apostolic Benediction.

1. We can scarcely address you, which we most willingly do from our heart, without remembering the mutual goodwill and that continuous interchange of good offices which have ever existed between the Apostolic See and the Canadian people. The love of the Catholic Church stood by the cradle of your State, and since the time when she received you into her maternal arms has never ceased to hold you in a close embrace, to foster you, and to load you with good things. The great works which that man of immortal memory, Francois de Montmorency Laval, wrought so successfully and so holily for the good of your country, of which your ancestors were witnesses, he accomplished through the support of the authority and favour of the Roman Pontiffs. And it was from no other source that the works of the Bishops who succeeded him, and who were men of such signal merits, took their origin and drew their hopes of success. In the same way, too, to go still further back, it was under the inspiration and on the initiative of the Apostolic See that noble bands of missionaries journeyed to your country, carrying along with the light of Christian wisdom a more elevated culture and the first seeds of civilization. And it was by these seeds, which were gradually ripened by the arduous labour of these men, that the Canadian people won a place on a level with the most civilized and most glorious nations and thus became, though late in the field, their rival.

2. All this it is pleasant for us to recall, and the more so because we see the fruits of it, and they are by no means small, still remaining. The greatest of all these fruits assuredly is that amongst the multitude of Catholics there is a love and an ardent zeal for that divine religion which your ancestors, in the first place from France, then from Ireland, and others from elsewhere, so religiously professed themselves and transmitted inviolate to their children. And if those children faithfully preserve this precious heritage it is easy for us to understand how much praise is due to your vigilance and activity, Venerable Brethren, and to the zeal of your clergy; for all work assiduously with one heart and one soul for the preservation and progress of the Catholic faith, and, to render this tribute to the truth, without meeting any disfavour or obstacle on the part of the laws of the British Empire."

The document goes on to discuss the right to Catholic education for students in Manitoba (a province in English speaking Canada - most Canadian Catholics are (were?) French speaking). Reading through this document I couldn't help but feel that the state of the Catholic Church in Canada has somewhat suffered in the past hundred years!

Your angel's got your back!

"When tempted, invoke your angel. He is more eager to help you than you are to be helped! Ignore the devil and do not be afraid of him: He trembles and flees at the sight of your guardian angel."
- St. John Bosco

"If you find it impossible to pray, hide behind your good angel and charge him to pray in your stead."
- St. John Vianney

Monday, May 28, 2007

The Rich Young Man

Here is a reflection on today's Gospel from Pope John Paul II:

"The sadness of the young man makes us reflect. We could be tempted to think that having many possessions, owning plenty of the goods of this world, can bring happiness. We see instead in the case of the young man in the Gospel that his many possessions had become an obstacle to his accepting the call of Jesus to follow him. He was not ready to say 'yes' to Jesus, and 'no' to self, to say 'yes' to love and 'no' to escapism. Real love is demanding. . . For it was Jesus - our Jesus himself - who said: "You are my friends if you do what I command you" (John 15:14). Love demands effort and a personal commitment to the Will of God. It means discipline and sacrifice, but it also means joy and human fulfilment. . . Open your hearts to the Christ of the Gospels - to his love and his truth and his joy. Do not go away sad!"
(Homily, Boston Common, 1 October 1979)

Praying for those who do not. . .

"I ask you to pray for those who cannot pray and also for those who do not know how to pray. Pray too for all who have lost faith in God and in His mercy."
- Pope John Paul II

True Freedom

"Authentic freedom is experienced as a definitive response to God’s ‘yes’ to humanity, calling us to choose, not indiscriminately but deliberately, all that is good, true and beautiful."
- Pope Benedict XVI

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Sunday, May 27, 2007

Ice Cream and Pentecost?

You may wonder, what on earth does ice cream have to do with Pentecost? A lot. Well, not a lot, but there is a link. As I've mentioned before, a dear friend of mine recently entered the Poor Clare Sisters. They live a very simple life. However, apparently they can eat ice cream on solemnities. That is, if someone brings them ice cream (since they are cloistered and rely entirely on the generosity of others to bring them food). So, I decided that today, along with some "normal" food, I'd bring them some chocolate chip mint ice cream, since I know this is my friend's favorite kind. By the grace of God I just happened to show up with the ice cream in hand shortly before mid-day prayer and so I was able to join them in prayer in the extern of the chapel. I caught a glimpse of my friend from behind the grill for the first time since she entered. She smiled at me and was obviously having a hard time not laughing at me. The sister who had greeted me when I came in must have told her that I'd brought ice cream.

99 Balloons

This movie which is currently circulating around the internet tells the touching story of a baby born with Trisomy 18. This is a fatal genetic condition and most babies with Trisomy 18 will not even survive pregnancy. This child's 99 day life on earth was truly a miracle.

This story also touches close to home for me as I know a young Christian couple who are in their third trimester of pregnancy and are expecting a baby with Trisomy 18. Despite the pressures of 'modern medicine' to abort they are firmly resolved to do everything they can to protect the life of their unborn child. They are praying for a miracle according to God's will. Please keep them and their unborn child in your prayers.

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The Theology of the Body

My brother's awesome. . . he just sent me an e-mail saying that his present for me in honor of my graduation is on its way.

The Theology of the Body
This is the new translation, which is apparently a much more accurate translation than previous editions. I have the original English translation from Pauline Press and have been wanting this new one since it came out but I felt I couldn't justify buying it for myself since I already had a copy of the Theology of the Body. I'll now be able to give my extra copy away to some newly wed friends. If you haven't read it yet, read it. You really should. It's not just about the theology of marriage but rather touches on everything. . . everything? Yeah, well, pretty much! Anything that's affected by the reality of the Incarnation, which is pretty much everything. Pope John Paul II's Theology of the Body considers what it means to be a human person made in the image and likeness of Christ and living in relationship with God and others. It's relevant for anyone who falls under that description. You included. :-)

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Friday, May 25, 2007

CBC Sacrilege

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation has done it again. . . this time with its pilot episode for its new show The Altar Boy Gang. With a show title like that on CBC you know you're bound for some display of sacrilege.

Check it out (if you dare).

You Know You Have a Great Job When. . .

You know you have a great job when reading Ex Corde Ecclesiae and the Holy Father's World Youth Day Messages falls under your job description. Not to mention the fact that Jesus has His own personal office in the workplace. Deo Gratias!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Holy Father Issues an Invitation

Our beloved Pope Benedict XVI summarizes in his own words the invitation and challenge he issued to the young people he met in Brazil, and indeed, to young Catholics throughout the world:

"I invited the young people to be apostles of their peers; and to therefore take great care of their own human and spiritual formation; to have great esteem for marriage and the way that leads to marriage, in chastity and responsibility; to be open to the call to consecrated life for God's kingdom. . .To summarize, I encouraged them to take advantage of the great 'riches' of their youth, to be the young face of the Church."

Dear Holy Father, we will do our best to respond faithfully, and trusting in Jesus, to this challenge you have set before us.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Rearview Mirror Devotions

You've all seen them, the rosaries hanging from rearview mirrors in vehicles of all shapes and sizes. I admit, I too have a rosary on my rearview mirror. Ok, I agree having things hanging from your rearview mirror could be a distraction and a hazard, but I make a point of making sure mine is wrapped up so it's not swinging all over the place (as you can see in the picture above from inside my vehicle. . . waiting at the ferry. . .). I also use my rosary in the vehicle. . . driving is a perfect time to fit in your daily rosary.

Sometimes however it seems like the rosary hanging off the rearview mirror is just a fashion statement more than anything else. When I see the low ride racing cars go by with the rosaries and the rap music blaring, I wonder whether the occupants actually use the rosary. But then again, perhaps one day they'll be in a car accident and look up at the crucifix at a crucial moment.

Now the point of this post however was not about the rearview mirror rosaries however, but rather about the rearview mirror crucifixes. Wall crucifixes. Seriously. Today I was driving down the main Canadian highway (ok, so it's the only highway that crosses the country, but never mind that. . .) when I noticed (how could I not notice?!) that the minivan in front of me had a ten inch crucifix hanging from the rearview mirror! It was huge. Bigger than the crucifix above my bedroom door. I'm not talking pectoral cross sized. I'm talking giant. At least giant for something hanging off a rearview mirror. Ok, now I think that might be a serious hazard! I appreciate the devotion of the vehicle owner, however, that crucifix just looked dangerous!

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Sisters of Life

This is a beautiful video of the Sisters of Life in New York City. May God bless the Sisters of Life as they pray and work to further the Gospel of Life. Deo gratias!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Oh, the sad irony. . .

There is a parish I sometimes attend that seems to have a problem preserving an atmosphere of prayer and contemplation in the Church sanctuary. Ten minutes before Mass it's louder inside the church than in the vestibule! Most people seem engaged in conversation with Joe and Sally who they haven't seen since last week, catching up on life and discussing the weather outside. The sad thing is, you can't even excuse them with "oh, they're young, they don't know better" or "they were never taught how to behave in church, it's not their fault." No, most of these people are elderly. This morning before Mass there were three couples sitting immediately in front of me, discussing in loud voices how many women no longer let men hold the door for them when going into public buildings and how many young men don't even try any more. They were lamenting the loss of this common courtesy in our modern society and commenting that no one seems to care about etiquette anymore. Hmmm. . . I didn't feel it would have been very respectful for me to say anything then and there but I did have a few interjections running through my mind.

All this being said, despite the frustration of having a hard time praying with all the conversations going on inside the church, I'm reminded of a quote from a letter J.R.R. Tolkien wrote his son:

"Also I can recommend this as an exercise (alas! only too easy to find opportunity for): make your communion in circumstances that affront your taste. Choose a snuffling or gabbling priest or a proud and vulgar friar; and a church full of the usual bourgeois crowd, ill-behaved children - from those who yell to those products of Catholic schools who the moment the tabernacle is opened sit back and yawn - open necked and dirty youths, women in trousers and often with hair both unkempt and uncovered. Go to communion with them (and pray for them). It will be just the same (or better than that) as a mass said beautifully by a visibly holy man, and shared by a few devout and decorous people. (It could not be worse than the mess of the feeding of the Five Thousand - after which [our] Lord propounded the feeding that was to come.)"

Yes, every time I feel frustrated by any surrounding circumstances at Mass I remember this quote. Such circumstances also remind me of the great humility of Christ. He not only humbled Himself to the point of death on the cross for us, He furthermore chose to remain with us, fully present in the Eucharist, despite our frequent ignorance and disregard for His presence among us. Furthermore, when I become frustrated with situations such as I experienced this morning, I'm reminded to examine my own conscience and consider whether my behaviour in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament always reflects the reality that I am entering into the physical presence of the King of all Creation. I too at times fail to exhibit the reverence worthy of a King. If ever I do act with the reverence the presence of Jesus Christ in the tabernacle prompts me to manifest, then I am reminded that it is only by the grace of God that I possess a firm knowledge and trust in this presence.

Sky Diving? Yeah Right!

A friend of mine is going sky diving for her 22nd Birthday and is trying to convince as many people as possible to join in on the fun. I think she's crazy. She reads my blog sometimes, so if she reads this, that's fine, she knows I think she's crazy (but I love you anyways, even if you're crazy). I'm scared of heights. I don't think sky diving would help. I'm scared to even watch from the ground. Madness. Pure madness.

Saturday, May 19, 2007


"For a Christian to pray is not to evade reality and the responsibilities it entails, but to assume them to the end, trusting in the faithful and inexhaustible love of the Lord." - Pope Benedict XVI

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Friday, May 18, 2007

LibraryThing is the Cool New Thing

I discovered this great new website this past week. It makes cataloging your books really easy! In about an hour and a half I cataloged 150 books. All you have to do is type in the title of the book and all the editions will show up and you simply select the edition you have or type in the ISBN number, or type in the author's name and their works will pop up and you select what you own. I have some more books at home taking up shelf space in my parents house, and I didn't catalog my Spanish, French, and German literature yet. As of right now my cataloged library includes mostly Theology, Philosophy, and English Literature. This site has all sorts of cool features though. It will show you who's library catalogs yours is closest to (this is a dangerous feature, because when you go and read the catalogs of people who have similar tastes as you discover books you wish you had in your own library). You can pull up all sorts of other interesting statistics and facts. It's really fun. Ok, I'm sure I'm sounding like a geek by now, but oh well.

E-Mails from Rome

Two of my very good friends are on pilgrimage in Italy right now. I'm trying not to be envious. I was sitting at my desk at the end of the day on a Friday afternoon after a long week at work when I received an e-mail from my friends updating me on their pilgrimage, commenting that they had just visited the tombs of St. Benedict, St. Scholastica, and Pope John Paul II this week. I wish I could be there with them, however, I take consolation in the fact that they said they've been praying for me. God knows I can use the extra grace!

Because Babies are Just so Cute!

This is a picture of my friends' first born child. I attended their wedding two years ago and here is a picture of their love for each other. She's an adorable and energetic little child. She's only eight months old and yet she can already walk on her own!

Because British Columbia is Just so Beautiful!

This is a picture I took on the ferry last weekend on my way
back to my hometown to attend my cousin's wedding.

This is my current desktop, from that same trip.

Relativism to the Extreme!

A friend of mine who will be heading off to Spain shortly to do graduate studies was reading through the new student information sent to her by the university when she came across the following sentence:

"Recognize that your own knowledge, perceptions, beliefs, and values are only valid for yourself, and not necessarily for someone else. No view is absolute and no one has a monopoly on truth."

This seems to be the prevailing sentiment in the post-modern secular academia.

Lord have mercy!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Why waste a temper tantrum if nobody is around to see it????

This would be me about 20 years ago. . .

Monday, May 14, 2007

Pro-Life Physicians and Protection of Conscience

I received the following e-mail today. This issue hits close to home.

Dear Pro-Life Friends,

The National Post recently reported that the National Abortion Federation is lobbying the Canadian Medical Association to remove its "conscientious objector policy, which allows physicians to refuse to refer patients for abortions," saying that doctors should put the interests of women seeking abortion before their own "religious and moral convictions." (See article copied at the end of this email, "Doctors asked to change national abortion policy," by Melissa Leong, National Post, May 10, 2007).


Currently, the CMA's abortion policy allows doctors to refuse to make an abortion referral when such would violate their religious / conscientious beliefs. The director of ethics at CMA, Dr. Jeff Blackmer, recently clarified CMA's position in the April 24, 2007 issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) after the CMA's policy was misrepresented in a guest editorial in the CMAJ last July by lawyers Sanda Rodgers and Jocelyn Downie who claimed that doctors who refuse to refer for abortion are committing "malpractice." Dr. Blackmer's letter of clarification was reprinted in the National Post on May 5 (see below).

However, according to an earlier story in the National Post, Dr. Blackmer has said that "a huge groundswell from the membership one way or another" could force a reevaluation of CMA's abortion policy. ('The "A" word: How did abortion, that most contentious of issues, become one that is simply not discussed publicly?" by Anne Marie Owens, National Post, Saturday, May 5, 2007). Within 5 days of that report, we hear that the National Abortion Federation is lobbying CMA to change its policy to take away a physician's right to freedom of conscience and religion.

What can be done:

If CMA's policy were to be changed so that doctors were compelled to make abortion referrals against their conscientious / religious beliefs, Canada may one day find itself without any practicing pro-life doctors. Canadian Physicians for Life is already in dialogue with the CMA, the CMAJ, and CPL's membership regarding this issue (and has been ever since the offending guest editorial was published in the CMAJ in July 2006). But if you, as a member of the Canadian pro-life public, are also concerned about the pressure that is currently being put on pro-life doctors to participate directly or indirectly in an abortion, please consider writing to Dr. Blackmer and to the president of CMA, Dr. Colin McMillan, the president-elect, Dr. Brian Day, and the editor-in-chief of the CMAJ, Dr. Paul Hebert, THANKING them for upholding and clarifying the CMA's abortion policy, while politely asking that the protections for doctors with respect to freedom of conscience be strengthened.

Contact info for CMA/CMAJ:

Dr. Jeff Blackmer, Executive Director, Office of Ethics (email: Jeff.Blackmer@cma.ca)

Dr. Colin McMillan, President (email: Colin.McMillan@cma.ca)
Dr. Dr. Brian Day, President-Elect (email: Brian.Day@cma.ca)

Dr. Paul Hebert, Editor-in-Chief, Canadian Medical Association Journal, (email: Paul.Hebert@cma.ca)

You might also consider copying your letter to the National Post: letters@nationalpost.com ; Mleong@nationalpost.com

After you send your letter to CMA/CMAJ, we'd appreciate it if you could forward a copy of it on to us at info@physiciansforlife.ca so that we have some idea of how pro-life Canadians are reacting to this issue. Thank you.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Barbara McAdorey (Administrator), on behalf of the board of

Canadian Physicians for Life
PO Box 1289
Ottawa ON K0A 2Z0
ph/fax: 613-728-LIFE(5433)

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Saturday, May 12, 2007

Deacon Payne - Seminary Formationator

About Me Meme

It's 11:00pm and I can't sleep so what do I do. . . pick up on a Meme from Fr. Zehnle at Servant and Steward.

1. Male or Female: Female

2. Married or Single (or religious): Single (no, this is not a personal ad)

3. Dream vacation: Italy, France, Spain, Greece, and the Holy Land, on my own with a backpack and plenty of time

4. Birthplace: middle of nowhere, Canada

5. Area I live in currently: British Columbia

6. Someone you wish you could meet: Pope Benedict XVI

7. Biggest "pet-peeve": unecessary use of swear words for every second word in speech

8. Favorite Religious devotion: does Eucharistic Adoration count?

9. Favorite Saint (besides the Blessed Mother): Too many to choose from although my A-list of intercessors includes St. Maria Goretti, Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, and St. Alphonsus Liguori.

10. Favorite sport that you play: swimming

11. Favorite food: seafood lasagna

12. Tridentine or Novus Ordo: The Novus Ordo (although I don't mind Tridentine. . . as long as a Mass is validly and licitly celebrated I am happy. . .)

13. Would you (or are you) home school or public school: I attended public elementary and highschool, although if I had a family I'd seriously consider homeschooling (depending on the schools in the area)

14. How many kids do you have: I have no kids.

15. Ever been in an auto accident: Well, not a serious accident.

16. Ever seen a pope in person: Pope John Paul II about six feet away in St. Peter's Square after Easter Sunday morning Mass in 2004. Pope Benedict XVI in Cologne Germany at WYD in 2005 got out of the papamobile and stood directly in front of me and greeted the young people. Literally, he was right in front of me. I have pictures of both. :-)

17. Languages that you know fluently: English, French, German

18. Last movie you saw in theatres: I can't even remember!

19. Favorite Blog: I'm impartial. ;-)

20. Your thoughts on Barney, the Easter bunny, and Santa Claus: I've never seen Barney, although I know he's a purple dinosaur of some sort. The Easter bunny doesn't exist. Santa Claus is clearly St. Nicholas and he visits not on Dec. 24th or Dec. 25th, but rather on Dec. 6th.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Teaching Kids Bad Habits

First Communion

First Communion today. . . awe, my darlings were so cute and well behaved. . . however, the adults in the congregation didn't do the best job on showing the children how to act in Church. Sometimes I think that there should be a mandatory Mass etiquette and catechesis of the Mass session for every parishoner, no matter how young or old.

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