Category Archives: Catholicism

7 Quick Takes on Cash Show, The Rock, and Teacher Stuff

7 Quick Takes, hosted at This Ain't the Lyceum

— 1 —

I have been winning trivia like a beast these last few weeks. My ability to play will decrease significantly very soon, so I’m glad to be going out in a blaze of glory.

I won HQ Trivia two times!

You won! with my happy smiling face

But I only remembered to take a photo one time.

— 2 —

In a related development, I also won Cash Show for the first time!

I won 79 cents!

And I also won that game twice!

I won $1.09!

See? A beast.

Cash Show is like the low-budget version of HQ. It has a similar structure: airs live, twelve questions, winners split the prize. But you start can start earning cash if you make it to question 6, each question is worth a specific (split) amount, and you get to keep the money you earn as each question passes.

So you can be knocked out at Question 9 and leave with twelve cents. I still only consider it “winning” if you make it through Question 12, which I did for the first time last Saturday. The main downside is that you can only get your prize as actual money in your possession once you earn ten dollars. Thus, although I have won a total of $3.81, I haven’t gotten any actual money. We’ll see if it falls into the “you might not ever get your money” loophole that HQ did before it let you cash out at any amount.

— 3 —

On a completely unrelated note, I remembered that Netflix has all of the Star Trek series right now, so I decided to finally finish watching Voyager. It was always my favorite since it was the newest when my dad finally converted me. (My mom and I used to make of him for liking Star Trek. I have since eaten my crow.)

My family lived overseas during Voyager‘s original run, so I never got to see the final season. I couldn’t remember how far along I’d watched, though, so I picked a random episode in the second-to-last season with a plot synopsis that sounded familiar.

Imagine my surprise when one of the guest stars was The Rock! He didn’t have any visible tattoos, so I wasn’t sure it was him until he did the eyebrow. Gotta love the eyebrow.

— 4 —

With my summer downtime, I worked through my backlog of alumni magazines. The one from Notre Dame feels like a short book. I don’t know how I managed to read Seventeen cover-to-cover when I was in high school!

The summer issue of Notre Dame Magazine had an intriguing article about young peoples’ declining or absent Catholic lives. The intriguing part wasn’t that it had anything new to say, but that I found myself agreeing with it so wholeheartedly. It doesn’t focus on the same old lines I hear all the time. It discusses a variety of reasons for the decline, and although it doesn’t offer any answers, it also doesn’t point the blame at any single cause. Considering that I’ve skipped a few ND Mag articles recently that made me roll my eyes at how un-Catholic they seemed, this one was a welcome change.

— 5 —

I also really liked the ND Mag article about a grown-up alumni child who has been fighting cancer for three years past his initial prognosis. I just thought it was well-written and hopeful without being schmaltzy.

— 6 —

If you happen to be a teacher looking for a easy way to make a poster of your class rules, I highly recommend this template from Canva. You can use Canva as a guest or with a Google account, and the poster can be printed as an engineering print at Office Depot for $4. Ask me how I know.

— 7 —

I hope to be a cool English teacher, but I don’t think I’ll ever be this hip:


For more Quick Takes, visit This Ain’t the Lyceum.

Sunday Style: What’s in a Name?

Nope, nothing about roses here. Just a big focus on names in the homily I heard this week. First, here’s what I wore.

Sunday Style for June 24

Dress: Target
Shell: Old Navy
Shoes: Target
Necklace: souvenir from Belize

This is a pretty standard summer dress. I bought it on a bit of a whim, but I like it a lot.

Back when I was living in my apartment in Austin, I had to walk my rent to the leasing office in person. (Someone was apparently stealing checks from the drop box, so the management nailed it shut and just inconvenienced everyone forever. I moved.) One month, I walked over on a Sunday afternoon to give my check to a staff member. She was wearing this exact dress in black, but without the shell underneath. As she pulled at the midpoint of hers, visibly uncomfortable, she commented that mine was much more modest.

That’s the goal. It’s amazing what a little layering can do.

At church, Deacon K focused heavily on John the Baptist, which was appropriate considering that we were celebrating his birth. I can’t remember the last time it fell on a Sunday; I don’t think I knew that his nativity feast takes precedence over an ordinary Sunday.

As the deacon said, we generally only give names to people to whom we are very close. Parents naming children is the obvious example, but also consider nicknames. You don’t nickname a stranger—unless you have the feeling that you’re going to be good friends upon meeting. I guess that happens sometimes.

He also shared that the contentious-at-the-time name “John” means something like “God is gracious” or “God gives grace.” Thus, John’s prophetic message was that God would be bringing the gift of salvation to his people very soon. That was why it was such a big deal that John’s name wasn’t Zechariah. We got no comment about how confusing it would have been to have two Zechariahs around. Did it work like today, with some ancient Israelite form of “junior”? I don’t know.

What did you learn in church this week? Have you ever run into someone wearing the same outfit?


This posted is linked up for Modest Monday at The Modest Mom Blog. Visit Caroline and say hello!

Holiness and Horror (Review: “A Good Man Is Hard to Find and Other Stories”)

Everyone loves a happy ending, but the sad ones are way more interesting. That’s the basic premise of every story by the incredibly talented Flannery O’Connor. She was one of the greats of Catholic fiction, so for my last regular review for ATX Catholic, I encourage you to give her a try.

The first of her stories I read was either “Good Country People” or “A Good Man Is Hard to Find.” I read them both for one of my English major classes back in undergrad, and they helped me see that short fiction is not just for fat English textbooks. Those two stories are the standout features of the collection “A Good Man Is Hard to Find and Other Stories,” although each story shines and shocks on its own.

a stone angel with a garland of flowers in front of a cross

Read the rest at ATX Catholic.

Get Through the Bible Today! (Video: John Bergsma, “Bible Basics for Catholics”)

Are you a member of the Perpetual Bible in a Year Club? I am. I know several people who have read through the entire Bible. Some have even managed it in a year. About ten years ago now, I set out to join them… and like many others, I fell behind. I promised I wouldn’t give up, though, and I didn’t restart, so I am technically still trying to read the Bible in a year.

Along the way to Revelation, however, I realized that I could learn about the whole Bible without necessarily reading cover-to-cover. Thanks to a variety of excellent Bible teachers and writers, I discovered that salvation history is laid out in the Bible quite nicely, and you can get through it much more quickly than you might think. If you’re ambitious, you can do it in an hour.

Thus, I present for your edification a recording of an Ave Maria Press webinar presented by Dr. John Bergsma, author of Bible Basics for Catholics. You can read my review of Bible Basics very quickly, or take some time to read the whole book, but if you’re aiming for the middle ground and short on time, give this video a try:

And if you don’t even have that much time, my highlights follow.

Read the rest at ATX Catholic.

Taboos and Resolutions (A Response to Archbishop Chaput’s Tocqueville Lecture)

They say you shouldn’t talk about sex, politics, or religion in public. As an evangelization-minded Catholic, I live a little differently, but I do tend to stay away from politics. I just don’t like it.

These days, however, there’s no getting away from politics, even when we’d rather talk about some of those other uncomfortable things. We’re seeing shifts in worldwide political power that have worried many, from both sides of the aisle and every form of government. If there was ever a time to talk politics, it’s now. I like my politics as a side to religion, though, so that’s what catches my attention.

That mindset drew me towards a speech given by one of my favorite speakers, writers, and bishops, Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia. He was invited to speak at the 2016 Tocqueville lecture at the University of Notre Dame, where I attended graduate school several years ago. If I will listen to anyone talk about politics, it’ll be him. The venue and occasion are just gravy.

"The Gospel of John reminds us that the truth, and only the truth, makes us free. We're fully human and free only when we live under the authority of the truth." —Archbishop Charles J. Chaput

Read the rest at ATX Catholic.

Catholic Calendar 2017

Whoa, hey there, December! It’s high calendar season, which means it’s time for my annual Catholic calendar post.

minicalendar

Photo by Joe Lanman at Flickr.

If you’ve already subscribed to my Catholic Calendar, you are already all set! I added the 2017 dates a little while ago. A site visitor asked. (I really do read every comment and contact form message I get, and since I’m a small-time blogger, I almost always respond.)

If you’re new or not a subscriber, then these steps are for you:

Subscribe Using Google Calendar

  1. Copy this link (don’t click on it; you don’t need to download anything): https://www.google.com/calendar/ical/mmc0sisckm9lduf8722ihsn3us%40group.calendar.google.com/public/basic.ics
  2. Log in to Google Calendar.
  3. On the left-hand side of the screen, click the small arrow to the right of “Other calendars” and choose “Add by URL.” Paste in the URL you copied in Step #1.
  4. All the U.S. Catholic holidays since 2011 should be visible now as all-day events. If you open the event, you can see the liturgical color and the rank (from the Table of Liturgical Days) in the description/notes.

Subscribe Using an iCal-friendly Calendar Application

I use Google Calendar, so that’s what I’m most familiar with. Check your calendar’s support or help feature for information about how to add an online calendar. You will need the same link from #1 above.

The data for my Google Calendar is provided as-is and without warranty by Romcal.

Import the Calendar

Just kidding; I don’t actually recommend this method. If you want to take the risk, I will let you figure it out on your own.

Print the Calendar

  1. Open the single-page, fullscreen, online version in a new tab or window.
  2. Select your preferred view. Month View is the default; this looks like a basic wall calendar that comes with preprinted holidays. Some days won’t show the whole event title because the title is just too long. There are a lot of letters in “Saturday of the Thirty-Third Week of Ordinary Time”! Agenda View gives you a text-only list.
  3. Print to PDF or actual paper, as you prefer.
  4. Alternative: Print the USCCB’s official Catholic calendar PDF. It has much more detail than my Google Calendar does, which could be better or worse for you.

This year’s liturgical notes are as follows:

  • There is no Sunday between Christmas Day and Mary, Mother of God; so the Feast of the Holy Family is the Friday after Christmas.
  • There is also no Sunday between Mary, Mother of God, and Epiphany; so the Baptism of the Lord is the first available weekday after that.
  • The Solemnity of St. Joseph is on March 20 since nothing trumps a Sunday of Lent.
  • The Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of Mary will not observed this year. The Nativity of St. John the Baptist is in the way, and solemnities outrank memorials.
  • I display the Ascension on a Sunday, since most of the U.S. celebrates it on a Sunday. If your diocese doesn’t, you probably already knew that.

This is technically for next liturgical year, but it’s noteworthy: Christmas Day is on a Monday in 2017. That means you have two Mass obligations to fulfill between Saturday evening and Monday midday. (Saturday Vigils must be in the evening, and the last Christmas Day Mass is customarily just before lunchtime.) That’s not even 3 full days; it’s about 44 hours. The last time this happened was in 2006. So that will be interesting.

Update: Fr. Mike Schmitz posted this excellent video from Ascension Presents explaining a bit about the different kinds of feasts.

If you have any questions, leave a comment or send me an email. I’ll do my best to help.

Enjoy!

Bits and Bytes on Thriving Parishes (Review: “Great Catholic Parishes”)

Since I stopped working in ministry, I’ve been a regular parishioner, just like everyone else. Having seen things from both ends of the pew, in a sense, I remain interested in the state of American parishes and efforts to right the wrongs and fulfill our mission as Christians. So I read a lot of books about parish improvement. My most recent read in that vein is Great Catholic Parishes: How Four Essential Practices Make Them Thrive, by William E. Simon Jr. of Parish Catalyst. It’s not my favorite in this niche, but I found some gems nonetheless.

Simon begins with an interesting overview of the history of Catholicism in the U.S. I’d never really thought about it from the perspective of the parish before. In Catholic countries, Simon writes, the parish wasn’t important because the Faith was everywhere. In the New World, however, Catholics clung to their parishes as cultural, social, and religious centers. It wasn’t everywhere anymore. Considering that difference got me to thinking about what the ideal situation would be today: to have the faith “in the water,” or to have it be something you have to choose and fight for. One could make a good argument for either.

Cristo Redentor statue

Unfortunately… Read the rest at ATX Catholic.

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