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Showing posts from July, 2011

The Women of the Gospels

Before writing book reviews for the blog, I had never read or taken part in a bible study. Though reviewing bible study books are done as an individual, instead of a group, I’ve really enjoyed this way of connecting with the scriptures. This month I finished Women of the Gospels: Missionaries of God’s Love by Mary Ann Getty-Sullivan , a bible study introducing us to the women mentioned in the Gospels. The guide is one in The Word Among Us Keys to the Bible series. Our parish regularly offers The Word Among Us magazine every Lent and Advent. Making time for myself to read the daily meditation has become one of my favorite traditions during those two seasons. This bible study guide follows the same format as others in the series and can be done by an individual or with a group. In The Women of the Gospels , the author examines the presence of women in each of the four Gospels, noting their relevance by how Jesus interacts with them and women in general. Getty-Sullivan uses the introdu

Holier than Thou?

Several weeks ago I attended an archdiocese meeting. Seated at rounds of six with other Catholics involved in their parishes, the conversation started with a time in our lives when our faith made a difference and progressed into what can our parish and archdiocese do to improve our services. Maybe I’ve been a little bit of a Pollyanna in the rebirth of my faith, because I had a hard time coming up with anything our parish needs to do better. I’ve spent the last eighteen months on Pastoral Council discerning some pretty big changes: improving our Life Teen coordination, expanding our adult faith formation into new classes, and developing the ever-growing resources available via online audio and CDs. I’ve taught elementary CCE for four years, which lead to signing up for some eye-opening FTCM classes on Ministry, the Old Testament and New Testament this past spring. But that night, sitting around the table with other “good Catholics” I felt like a terrible sinner, being reminded over a

Pregnancy Contradictions

Today, I’ve been pregnant (and forty) for 205 days. As I face down the last ten weeks, I’ve noticed that pregnant women live a life full of contradictions. Here are just a few that I’ve actually heard over the past 7-10 days. Eat healthy. You’re pregnant, eat whatever you crave while you can. Eat small portions every few hours. Fill up your plate honey, you’re eating for two. You’re going to have these three (huge work) projects completed before you go on maternity leave, right? You really should try and take it easy during these last two months. You know you shouldn't be traveling during the last trimester. Why didn’t you go on the big Colorado vacation with your family this week? Are you having fun setting up the baby’s room? You shouldn’t be moving furniture or even in the house with paint fumes at all! Make sure you get plenty of exercise! Keep moving! Sit down, get plenty of rest, and put your feet up! You’re so big! You’re so tiny! You look tired. You l

What happens after Shuttle ends?

Forty-two years ago today the world watched in awe as Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin took that “one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.” Before many of us wake tomorrow, history will be made again with the words “Wheels Stop” as Shuttle Atlantis lands, bringing the Shuttle program to a close. It is with very mixed emotions that we mark this day. It seemed so far away when, in 2004, President Bush announced the Shuttle Program would end making way for the Constellation Program: a new vision with a new vehicle to lead us back to the moon, an asteroid, and then apply those accomplishments to the ambitious goal of reaching Mars. NASA's Message A week before the STS-135 launch, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, a four-time Shuttle veteran, released a statement to NASA employees and contractors via email that sounds very much like a political speech written by the White House, with broad talking points, little direction, and no specifics. “President Obama has given us

WOW: Kids CatholicTV Challenge

My kids have fallen in love with WOW: The CatholicTV Challenge , a fun Catholic game show for children featuring 3rd graders answering questions about Catholic life. We watch it streaming directly from the CatholicTV website . The 28-minute show hosted by Fr. Robert Reed is broken into short segments with teams of different contestants. Perfect for limited attention spans, Father Reed engages the kids with energy, enthusiasm and just enough humor to make it fun. In between the questions and answers, Fr. Reed takes a brief moment to tell you something about the most recent question or answer while keeping the action moving right along. Each show has a topic with questions flowing in a natural order. We started watching with the show on “Christmas” and moved to “Growing Up Catholic.” Their posted schedule also includes shows about Easter, Sacramentals, The Holy Rosary, The Blessed Mother, The People of God and more. CatholicTV has taken all the elements that make a game show enterta

Friday's Catch - July 15

Catholic Faith Influenced Ryan’s Proposed Budget Plan Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI), Chairman of the House Budget Committee, discusses in an article for Our Sunday Visitor, how he applied Catholic social doctrine and his Faith in drafting the proposed federal budget . He says, "Social teaching is not the monopoly of one political party, nor is it a moral command that confuses the preferential option for the poor with a preferential option for bigger government." He warns that budgetary discipline is a moral imperative and that is immoral for governments and individuals to believe they are entitled to huge debts at the expense of future generations. Ryan quotes Pope Benedict in "Caritas in Veritate," that solidarity without subsidiary "gives way to paternalist social assistance that is demeaning to those in need." His proposed budget reflects President Clinton's successful welfare reform, by transitioning federal dollars into block grants to give the

Called Home to God

My husband and I have friends who were practically adopted by my mother-in-law years ago, so we’ve always considered them part of my husband’s “family.” Two months ago they called us and asked, “So how hard is this parenting thing anyway?” All I could do was laugh. We were thrilled to learn that they’d been selected by a birth mother to adopt a little boy diagnosed with Down Syndrome. My husband and I shared knowing smiles as they enthusiastically bubbled over with new parenthood anticipation. Duncan arrived the evening of July 3 and, after a few hours with his birth mother, was delivered into the waiting arms of his new parents. Even now I’m smiling remembering the beautiful transformation of my friends as they became parents to a perfect little child who promised to bring a pure radiant joy and sweet innocent love into their home. Everything seemed to be falling into place. In a world where adoption often becomes a messy legal story, the young mother remained firm in her decision a

And With Your Spirit

Have you heard the news?  There is a new Mass translation coming to a parish near you this Advent.  Websites abound with the new translations, descriptions and rationale behind the changes.  I’ve seen cheat sheets for purchase and recently downloaded a new iPhone app, “The New Mass” for explanation on the go. We've recently reviewed the Ascension Press booklet, "Guide to the New Translation. " Logically, I completely understand why we have a new English translation.  In fact, I was surprised to learn that until now English-speaking countries differ in their Mass translations. I wrongly assumed the words of the Mass were the same across the English-speaking world. I love the idea that this new translation recaptures the beauty and accuracy of the original Latin Mass translation.  For those who remember the Latin Mass from pre-Vatican II, you might recognize the reflection of the Latin in the new English translation.   Because the change in the Mass over fou

Impending Debt Crisis

As Congress continues to debate whether to raise the debt ceiling as an answer to the looming debt crisis, many of us have questions about where our country is economically, how we got here, and what can be done to preserve our nation for the next generation. What is a Debt Crisis? Federal debt typically is measured as a percentage of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The GDP is one of the primary indicators used to gauge the economic health of the economy and is defined as the total dollar value of all goods and services produced over a specified time period. As a percentage of GDP, our federal debt has increased to the point that our nation's debt threatens to rise to a level higher than our GDP. What Created the Debt Crisis? In simplistic terms, the debt crisis was created by a serious increase in spending coupled with a simultaneous weakening of the United States economy. In the past decades, even though federal spending increased, the percentage of debt vs. GDP d

Catching Up on Friday

It's the end of another week and there's still a handful of items accumulated in my mental in-box. Sometimes little things gather that I just don't have time to write much about, but I think you might be interested in knowing. Fridays are becoming a good day for playing "catch." Let us know if you like this idea for a regular feature. Religious Censorship of Veterans Funerals? When the new Houston National Cemetery director Arleen Ocasio arrived last year, one of the first things she did was close the cemetery’s on-site Chapel. This week news broke that she is allegedly censoring Veterans organizations, banning them from using the words “God” and “Jesus” during funeral services and prayers. The non-profit Liberty Group filed a formal complaint in federal court on behalf of the American Legion Post 586, Veterans of Foreign Wars District 4, and the National Memorial Ladies. Lawmakers are seeking explanations, and local citizens are calling for the director’s remo

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