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Showing posts from February, 2013

Grazie Papa!

I am overwhelmed with emotion today as we pray with Pope Benedict for the last time.  After Pope John Paul II passed away, I couldn't imagine feeling connected with another Pope.  Blessed John Paul was selected as the Pope when I was very young and his Papacy helped form my teen and young adult years.  He was one of a kind.   Pope Benedict surprised me.  At the last conclave, I was in my early 30's with two small children.  These years were the years I started my renewal in my Catholic faith.  It really began for me after my second child was born and has continued these last nine years.  It was only recently that I realized that my re-dedication to the faith coincided with the Papacy of Pope Benedict and saw the  important part he played in my spiritual reawakening. After the last conclave, the media reported the ways Pope Benedict was not like Pope John Paul and predicted his disconnect with the faithful.  But what they missed were all of the wonderful wa

Good Sportsmanship and a Soccer Mom

What is it about parenting and sports that stirs such passion in us? As parents of little athletes, we try to model healthy competition and good sportsmanship for our kids, but as a soccer mom , it is sometimes easier said than done.  On Saturday mornings, seemingly reserved normal moms (Dads and Grandparents too!) get a little out of control on the sidelines cheering and rooting for pint-size soccer stars.  We preach to our young athletes about the importance of good sportsmanship while playing any sport, but then sometimes forget to practice what we preach.  Last season, I had my worst display as a passionate soccer mom in my 17 combined seasons with the soccer mom title.  Without getting into the nitty gritty embarrassing details, let's just say I behaved badly  while attempting to defend my eight year old son on the sidelines after a game.  As parents we walk a very fine line.  Our children must grow up, learn that life isn’t fair and to fend for themselves, but somet

40 Ways to Give in Lent

40 Ways to #Givefor40 during Lent Every year as Lent approaches, my children and I brainstorm ideas for our Lenten resolutions.  By choosing actions or ideas we strive to fulfill the 3 Pillars of Lent: Almsgiving, Fasting and Prayer .  It can be difficult to find just the right thing to accomplish that will also lead us to a holier life on Easter Sunday.  This year I asked my children to think about ways we can use our sacrifice and preparation to  Give for 40  days of Lent instead of thinking of Lent as a time of “giving up.”  Here is what they came up with: Have a Mass said for someone Pray for your Priest Do a chore for a family member, neighbor or friend without being asked Volunteer as a family Pray the rosary in the car instead of listening to the radio Read a book or play a game instead of watching our regular TV shows Take a meal or baked goods to a friend for no reason Send cards or letters in the snail mail to someone who is important to you Coll

Don't Give Up for Lent

Last year on Ash Wednesday I wrote about praying the Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary and this Ash Wednesday morning I prayed them again on my drive to work.   I only had time to glance at social media briefly, but saw many pictures of people proudly wearing their ashes and posts about a Lenten sacrifice. Yesterday, as I considered what to “give up” for Lent, I received an email from my 5 th grader’s religious education teacher, informing parents what he taught his students about Lent. He wrote: Lent is a time of giving ourselves fully to God, through three main actions, prayer, fasting and almsgiving . We talked about how much God loves us and how He shows His love for us. ·         John 3:16 For God so loved the world he gave us His only son. ·         John 15:13 Jesus said, "The greatest love you can have for your friends is to give your life for them." ·         John 19:30 Jesus' last moments on the cross, He said, "it is finis

A Life of Joy, Love and Forgiveness

Last week our family gathered for the Rite of Burial for our beloved grandmother.  After the readings and homily, our father honored his wife’s request to say a few words.  As much as we would like to post everything he said, it would be very lengthy, so please allow us to share our grandmother’s legacy as witnessed by our father.  ~ Shelly     Picture of Lily Mae Maniscalco Lily Mae’s beauty can easily be seen in the early pictures of her dancing and later with her handsome husband, Pete.   But her external beauty paled by the beauty of her character.   Her inner beauty is a testament to three tenants of our Christian faith: Joy, Love and Forgiveness.   Joy! If you ask many of the people here today and others that have known Lily Mae over the years, the first thing they will mention is her happy smile, sparkling eyes and bubbly personality.   She was a joy to be with and always seemed to spread some of her joy to those around her.   In the 50+ years I had the privile