Monthly Archives: April, 2007

Catholic Carnival: Divine Mercy Sunday

I started entering Catholic Carnivals again, which is how The Catholic Underground found my post. Last week’s carnival included a link to Fighting Irish Thomas, who mentioned a Eucharistic Procession at Notre Dame last Sunday. That sounds so cool. I wish we could do something like that here at UMD, but I doubt it. That sounds like the kind of thing campus officials would want to stop. We can use campus facilities, being an officially registered organization that’s open to everyone (like the Church itself). I can see the hecklers organizing now.

Also, Musings from a Catholic Bookstore posted a great rebuttal of a recent Newsweek article on B16’s papacy since his election two years ago. Lovely birthday present, guys. It’s a long post, but the gist of it is this: The Pope is responsible for keeping the Church Catholic, not for changing things willy-nilly, no matter who thinks he should. Period. (But go read it anyway.)

Hooray for CDA

You know, I never do old-fashioned “what’s going on in my life” posts anymore. Let’s fix that.

It’s almost the end of the semester, so I am dying accordingly. Reading for class still puts me to sleep. I go to class almost every day now having done only part of the reading assignment. As I continue in upper-level classes, the reading volume only increases. Last semester, I got so far behind that I honestly just gave up. This semester is turning out to be very similar. My days are scheduled so tightly that I have very specific chunks of time for studying. Unfortunately, those are often the very ends of my day, so I’m either not awake enough or far too tired to concentrate. I can’t figure out what else to do, though. I don’t know any other way to do school.

We had CDA elections two weeks ago. The nominating committee only picked one person for each office. Attendance dropped so dramatically this year that I’m kind of impressed they came up with that many people. Cathy had mentioned that she would consider a nomination for Vice Regent again if she knew the Regent wouldn’t resign like last year, but I guess they didn’t ask her. So, Kaitlyn will be Vice Regent, Maura will be Recording Secretary, Kait L. will be Financial Secretary, Maureen will be Treasurer…and I’ll be Regent. xD After we finally managed to have a business meeting in October, I realized that I wanted to run for Regent. Cathy isn’t graduating, so I promised myself that I wouldn’t step on her toes if she ran for reelection, but she didn’t. This spring, she herself suggested I consider taking the regency. I told Myca, swearing her to secrecy, and she was all for it. When Fr. Bill told me he hoped I’d become Regent, that pretty much sealed the deal.

On Monday evening, we had what Cathy swears is her last CDA event as Regent. (We still need to do a financial review, though.) Having inducted a whopping three new Daughters on Divine Mercy Sunday, we wanted to try to bring together as many current and new Daughters as possible for an orientation. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to plan enough, so I went to the CSC on Monday evening for Mass as usual with only a very fuzzy idea of what we’d be doing.

Cathy spent Mass in the kitchen preparing dinner. She did a really good job considering that she was working by herself (though Jess N. made the cake). We ate first, then had dessert while Gina led our attempt to go over parliamentary procedure. When you do it right, parliamentary procedure is a really good way to get decisions made with discussion, especially with large groups. We’ve never quite managed to do it right, though. I did manage to get people used to standing when they spoke during business meetings, though. That helps a lot with order, because no one wants to raise her hand and stand up just long enough to say, “That’s a great idea!”

After dessert, we did a (late) icebreaker game of “Do You Love Your Neighbor?” One person stands in the middle while the rest sit in a circle of chairs. She picks a girl and asks, “Do you love your neighbor?” She answers, “Yes, and I especially love people who…” and fills in something about herself. (You can also play it, “No, but I love people who…,” but there is negativity allowed in CDA. Ha.) Then, all the girls who share that characteristic have to change seats. You have to move at least two seats away, and the last person standing starts the next round by introducing herself. Of course Cathy started with me. I picked people who have siblings. Gina needed clarification (“biological or “People who converted” wasn’t thrilling, because there were only two (including my future new roommate, Sarah). Myca picked “I love Catholics,” so that was a complete melee of elbows and squeals. Jess M. couldn’t talk because something was wrong with her throat, so I interpreted her notes.

After the train wreck ended, we played Kait L.’s Circle of Love game. She is a very creative girl. Cathy talked about St. Maria Goretti in the absence of both our Spiritual and Chastity Chairs. We ended by making cards for hospitalized children, and then we all went home. Attendance was pretty good considering our track record; we had about 12 girls (including one who isn’t actually a Daughter). And I got a super-neat saints + JPII bracelet blessed by the Holy Father!

Wednesday night dinner was even more fun than usual because I missed last week, and because we got to eat outside with minimal bug nuisances. It was also the Feast of St. Mark, and I had a wonderfully enlightening Holy Hour.

Earlier this afternoon, I had a phone interview for a summer job. I applied to Johns Hopkins’s Center for Talented Youth Summer Program back in February. I wanted to be a TA, knowing that my chances weren’t great because they’d already been reviewing applications for over a month. I interviewed today for an RA job. I don’t think it went that well. I don’t have much experience as an RA. That aspect of my job with Portz last summer was my weakness. My interviewer asked me what topics I might consider inappropriate for discussing with adolescents as opposed to my peers, and I totally blanked. It’s been a while since I’ve really talked to kids, I guess.

Mary (and Fr. Bill) sent me links to the newest OotP trailer. I’d already seen them, but I appreciated the gesture. It was only a few days ago that I realized that taking this job I interviewed for (if they even offer it to me) means missing out on EVERYTHING Harry Potter this summer. I can’t guarantee I’ll even be able to get DH, let alone read it. How sad is it that Harry Potter is seriously affecting my work this summer, and it’s not even summer yet?

I’ll be leaving for the CSC in a few minutes. The Missionaries of the Eucharist are leading a discussion tonight on the Pope’s Apostolic Exhortation, Sacramentum Caritatis. I actually managed to read the right sections of it, so this should go much more smoothly than my classes lately, where I tend to go without having read and then doze off for an hour and a half.

Faith and Politics

Our beloved Archbiship Wuerl gave an address at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast that addressed faith and politics. I’m not a big fan of politics, but I love my Church, so I was intrigued.

To explore the developments in the relationship of faith and public policy we need to begin with a recognition that in recent years we have witnessed a movement in some public opinion forums away from an appreciation of the basic religious values that underpin our laws—religious values accepted and expressed by a great variety of faith communities—to the assertion of the need to substitute a so-called secular frame of reference within which public policy should be articulated.

This is so important. Faith and reason are not mutually exclusive. Rosie O’Donnell recently expressed her dismay at the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban by lamenting that, since the five Supreme Court Justices who voted in favor of the ban are Catholic, the country is losing its sense of the separation of church and state. That’s not what “separation of church and state” means. It doesn’t mean that you have to divorce your church life from public life, even if that public life includes handing down legislation. To be a truly faithful person in any tradition, your faith has to inform every aspect of your life. “Separation of church and state” means that there is no official Church of the United States. It means that the U.S. government can’t define religion. It does not and has never meant that there must be a chasm between faith and law.

The reason Rerum Novarum is highlighted so regularly is because it was the beginning of a long series of papal encyclicals and statements constantly developing the theme of human dignity and social justice. […] Religious faith has played and continues to play a significant role in promoting social justice issues.

What faith brings to our world is a way of seeing life and reality, a way of judging right and wrong, a norm against which we can see our life measured in light of the wisdom of God.

We simply cannot put aside all of this conviction of how we live and make important decisions and still be who we are as Catholics and as heirs to the American dream of personal freedom, faith and the common good.

We cannot divide personal morality and ethics from political life any more than we can separate spiritual values from human values. It is an unnatural and unhealthy condition for the individual and society so to compartmentalize our most firmly held convictions that they are not allowed to affect our public lives. Such a schizophrenic approach to life is, at best, unhealthy. Closer to the truth—it brings devastation to the person and to society.

Some day, maybe our country will recognize that what is popular—or rather, what the new would have you believe is popular—is not always right. May God be with all of us, all the time, in all the aspects of our lives.

I’m in a podcast!

My first super-cool blog moment was being mentioned in the National Catholic Register, albeit under my old title and at my old URL on Blog*Spot. Today I had my second: I’m in a podcast! I submitted my entry on the Eucharistic Congress to the Catholic Carnival, and The Catholic Underground mentioned it in their podcast! Clearly, I needed to re-add that “About Me” section to the sidebar sooner, but still. I’m in a podcast! Yay!

Customization Complete

Well, sort of. I would still like to have the navigation in nice little tabs in the header, as well as putting the search bar there, but this will do for now. If only I could figure out how to get my fanlisting code rotator working again, and add cute little pixel icons for the time and date, and get those single-page navigation links aligned properly,…. and stop being such a perfectionist.

Come, Holy Spirit

Last night, I went home. I love to dance, so I was honestly upset that I wasn’t able to join the CSC’s biannual trip to Blob’s Polka Park. However, I had a good reason. My sister was filled with the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and I got to be her personal witness.

I’ve written about my struggles with my family and faith before (in my last entry, as a matter of fact). I don’t think my mom is fully aware of the position she’s put me in. My whole family has noticed how my devotion to Christ has grown. Thankfully, my mom hasn’t accused me of “preaching” since that one time. I didn’t really want to be Courtney’s sponsor, but I knew that I couldn’t insult my family by refusing. The fact that the Confirmation Mass conflicted with Blob’s was a sign, I think. God wanted me to do it, and He wanted to humble me by calling me to give up something I love for someone I love.

The first time I went home was also a sacrifice. It was Wednesday night. Wednesdays are very long for me this semester (work at 8:30am, class 10-11 and 11:30-1, lunch, then back to work from 2-4:30pm), but they culminate with CSC fun. I go there right after work and stay through the Rosary, Mass, dinner, and Holy Hour, so I don’t get back home until nearly 8 o’clock. It’s always great, though. But I gave that up, too, to attend the Confirmation rehearsal. It was ironic to be in a church on one of the rare weekdays I hadn’t been to Mass. Her class had a good thirty-five kids in it. Mine had about ten. (The Catholic population of our base in Germany was pretty small.) We started with prayer (yay!), and then spent a good hour discussing the logistics:

  • Don’t carry anything during the processional.
  • Smile! This is a joyous ocassion; don’t look so rigid.
  • Girls, cover your shoulders (which sent my mom out for a blazer for Courtney’s dress; I had a similar problem six years ago).
  • Speak loudly; the bishop is getting older.
  • Bow before you receive the Eucharist—under both species.

And so on. We practiced the procession twice. Courtney got to lead it, which is unprecedented for a W family like ours. They set up for the group picture, we practiced singing, and my mom drove me back to campus. Then I wrote my rhetoric paper. I was analyzing “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop,” though, and I was in bed just after 2am, so it wasn’t that bad.

My mom picked me up early on Friday after post-Mass lunch. We made such good time that she took me shopping on the way home. I have gray pants now. I hung out at home until we had to leave for church. I haven’t figured out yet which Catholic mailing list got my home address, but charities keep sending me mail. And I got my state tax refund. I did get to show my mom what a holy water fount (for a home) looks like from the catalog I got, though. Her attitude toward my devotion has changed from “Stop making me feel bad for being so lapsed!” to “What does that mean?”

I felt ridiculously unproductive wasting a good hour in the church hall (the basement) before Mass started. I prayed a Divine Mercy chaplet for my sister, watched her photo session, prayed some more, sat around, and pinned her ribbon on. (I liked their idea for labeling everyone with their patrons. They put red stick-on letters onto wide white ribbon (the reverse for the boys) and attached them with Holy Spirit cross pins.) I can technically call her Thérèse (of Lisieux) now.

The Mass was really nice. I wound up sitting directly in front of the tabernacle. (Thanks, Holy Spirit!) I wasn’t fond of the Contemporary Choir’s choice of Gloria and Alleluia, but their meditation hymn was incredible. Even Bishop (Francisco) Gonzáles, our principal celebrant, complimented them on it. He gave a wonderful homily (with a little Spanish I understood). The Rite of Confirmation itself was pretty cool. When I was standing behind my sister, he called her Therese, and for a second I honestly thought, “Wait, who?” Then I remembered. After he washed his hands, he gave special blessings to a group of already-confirmed students. They called it a “recommitment.” Am I the only one who’s never heard of that before? The bishop didn’t seem fazed. Then, by Godincidence, I got to receive the Eucharist from him. That was pretty sweet.

After Mass, we processed out and back down to the reception hall. I complimented the bishop on his homily. When I told him that I’m from the UMD sort-of parish, he remembered Fr. Bill with a smile. Then I had some good Holy Spirit cake, looked at my sister’s scrapbook, and got back to campus around 11:30…after which we stayed up playing Password-style Catchphrase in the living room until 1:30. It was a good day.

The Domestic Church

I was looking for a link to Phatmass, so I could find some new Catholic wallpaper (I had Switchfoot before). In the process, I discovered a link to this classic Catholic children’s bedtime prayer.

Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray Thee, Lord, my soul to keep.
If I should die before I wake,
I pray Thee, Lord, my soul to take.
If I should live to future days,
I pray Thee, Lord, to guide my ways.

Is anyone else surprised by that last part? I’ve been praying that since I was little, but I never knew there was more to it. (Yes, that means I still do it. Why mess with a good thing?) I also thought “thee” was just an odd pronunciation of “the,” but it works either way.

I had to teach myself the Guardian Angel prayer last year. Sometimes I feel like I missed out on so much having not grown up in a Catholic home. We had a FOCUS Ladies Prayer Service last night at the CSC (followed by an hour hanging out at Coldstone). One of the intentions I offered was for women called to the vocation of marriage, that they will find Christlike men with whom to build the domestic church. I still don’t think of my house…my family’s house…as a domestic church.

My family is only sort of Catholic. I’m the strange devout daughter. My dad worked on Sundays until recently; he never really seemed concerned about missing Mass every week, despite having converted less than a year before he took that job. My mom was baptized Catholic, married my dad in the Church, and got me back there in time for the Sacraments of Initiation, but I feel like she only did it out of habit. I have never known her to be happy about church, or even about God. Ryan was sent to CCD for the first time before his First Reconciliation and Communion two years ago, the same season my dad converted. He isn’t going this year. This year has been my sister’s turn, since my mom realized she was Confirmation age just in time for the second year of CCD.

I’m going home tomorrow evening for my sister’s Confirmation rehearsal. Wednesday is always my busy day with classes and CSC stuff. Ironically, I’m going to miss Mass. I could probably skip it, but the Holy Spirit is telling me to go. I was all but told that I would be her sponsor. The truth is that my mom doesn’t know any other Catholic adults. My grandmother was my Confirmation sponsor for the same reason (she at least goes to Sunday Mass every week), and my mom had to proxy because we were in Germany. This is also why I am my brother’s godmother. We’ve got a lot of sponsorship incest in my family.

When I think about this, I wonder about my own future. I’m not judging my family. God will get to them through me or any way He wills. But how can I consider myself prepared to build a Catholic home of my own someday when my family is Catholic, but our home is not? The changed in my relationship with all of them was inversely proportional to that with God. What can I do, though? What can I do?

I’m going to miss Holy Hour adoration as well. That’s a shame. I could have used that time to pray and think about all this. Or, more likely, write my paper.

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