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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 states more control over the implementation of the anti-poverty dollars.

HOME: Christmas In July
Image from HOME: Letters to Our SoldiersOur area has a terrific volunteer organization called “Help Our Military Endure” (HOME) that organizes care packages for United States servicemen and women serving in far off countries. Collection boxes sit in most of our local area schools and businesses asking for donations of individual items such as non-perishable food/drink (nuts, powdered drink mixes, single-serving canned fruit), toiletry products (deodorant, chapstick, eye drops), and miscellaneous (batteries, duct tape, books, magazines). My daughters enjoy participating in Operation Shoebox, where they fill a shoebox with donations. Last night HOME volunteers gathered for their “Christmas in July” packing party to sort these donations into individual care packages and packed them for overseas shipping.

Every box includes a personal letter or card expressing our gratitude for their military service. Last year they shipped over 1000 boxes. However packed boxes cannot be shipped without funds; each box costs $12.95 flat rate. Please consider sponsoring one box and/or send a personal card to help get these items to a serviceman or woman serving overseas. You can donate via their website or regular mail.

Peace Cord Bracelets
Last week everyone seemed to be buzzing about Peace Cord Bracelets. These bracelets are hand woven by Afghan women using military grade US parachute cord and US military buttons. Organized through ARZU Studio Hope Mission (ARZU means Hope in Dari), all proceeds stay in Afghanistan, with a mission of empowering Afghan women to lift their families out of poverty. Bracelets come in six different sizes and are reasonably priced at $10 or $15 each. You can order up to 10 at a time for the same low shipping cost. I love the bracelets and their symbolism, and especially the goal of helping the Afghan women, even if only in a small way. Keep these in mind as a gift for the veteran or military family members in your life, or wear one of your own to show your support.

Restaurant Bans Children
My husband and I have a special restaurant we go for special date nights. Early in our parenthood experience we decreed that we would never bring our children here. It was that one place we could go, enjoy a little live jazz trio while savoring a drink with our succulent meal. The moderately expensive price tag ensures that’s not a place we want to explore whether or not they have a child’s menu.

McDains, a restaurant in the Pittsburgh area, recently instituted a ban on children under the age of six. They seem to be catching a lot of attention for it with people weighing in on both sides. Personally I applaud them. According to the article, it’s a small restaurant with seating for about 40 along a golf course that caters to an older clientele. Regulars were complaining about very young children disrupting the entire restaurant.

I wondered how my husband and I would feel if we hired a sitter to slip away to enjoy our quiet date night location only to be seated next to a family with very young children. I would be a little miffed having to listen to the noise and etc. that carries over. Children over six may be expected to behave in a nice place, but not a toddler who has just started learning self-control.

I think restaurants and other private companies should have the right to designate themselves either a family or adults-only restaurant. A good businesses knows the demographics of their patrons in order to serve their desires better, to make their business a place people want to come.

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