April 30, 2007

Scarce Lately

Gentle Reader: I know I've been scarce lately. I'm working on a big blog post but I'm also working a lot of hours these days. Please be patient with me. Please pray for me as I pray for you.

PLAM Opens Perpetual Adoration Chapel Next to Abortion Clinic in Robbinsdale, MN

Ray has the story via Mrs. Colleen Perfect of Catholic Parents Online.

April 29, 2007

Wah, Wah, Wah, Bishop Nienstedt, Wah, Wah, Wah....

My latest piece of commentary: this time Nick Coleman of the StarTribune

April 28, 2007

Saint Agnes H.S. Granted Another Week

In today's Pioneer Press is a story with signs of hope: St. Agnes High School has an additional week to increase enrollment and earn money towards its operating budget deficit. The deadline is now May 8th (prior deadline was April 30th).

Donations should be sent to:

Fr. John Ubel
St. Agnes Schools
530 Lafond Ave
St. Paul MN 55103

Ticket sales for the school's production of Beauty and the Beast which performs this weekend and next can be purchased in advance (651) 228-1636 or at the door.

An additional performance of Beauty and the Beast has been added for Thursday, May 3rd at 7:30 p.m. No tickets will be sold for this performance but donations are welcome.

Cross posted to Stella Borealis and the Catholic Answers forums.

Please join me in supporting this school. I sent my check last week. I'm not an alum, I don't have kids in the school, St. Agnes is not even my parish. But, I think it is important to support GOOD Catholic schools.

April 27, 2007

Compare and Contrast Pioneer Press Letters about Bishop Nienstedt

My letter in today's Pioneer Press. It was slightly edited by the paper; including lowercasing titles that I had in uppercase....

Your front page story on the appointment of Bishop John Nienstedt as coadjutor archbishop of this archdiocese appears to go out of its way to try and find fault with him before he even begins.

By the way, nothing you quote his excellency as doing or saying is contrary to Catholic teaching. The same could not be said for his predecessor in the Diocese of New Ulm, the late Bishop Raymond Lucker.


Right after my letter another....

After reading David Hanners' revealing article about the appointment of Bishop John Nienstedt to be coadjutor archbishop of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, I sense that thinking, reflective Catholics will find it very difficult to adjust to a new restrictive policy that demands mindless obedience.

It appears to me that Catholics who have been accustomed to prayerful and intelligent spiritual development guided by an enlightened clergy will now be expected to follow blindly a reactionary leader who respresents some of the most negative aspects of the Catholic Church.

With this appointment, the church, in my opinion, has taken a giant step backward.

I am a Catholic and a longstanding member of the Cathedral of St. Paul

--I'm not going to identify him here.

The story we were commenting on cannot be accessed without logging into the paper at www.twincities.com.


April 26, 2007

What The ----?

Some days even I can't believe it.....found this on my former dissident parish website. It was used for a healing service. I'm refraining from speculation as to what role it played, though I'm sorely tempted.


Catholics, Rev Up Your Prayer Engines-Please

Gentle Reader: Please pray for my special intention.

God Bless You.

Alles Gute zum Geburtstag Der Wanderer!

St. Paul's own The Wanderer (formerly Der Wanderer) is 140 years old this year! They've just launched an online version of their newspaper and they are soliciting stories from their longtime readers.

"The editors invite all Wanderer readers to tell their experiences with this newspaper: how you discovered it, how long you have read it, how it has formed you. We would like to hear from older readers, who may recall positions The Wanderer took during the World War II era and during the long Cold War, their experiences growing up Catholic in a culture that was then much more hospitable to Catholic (or family)life. We particularly want to hear from readers who are veterans of the liturgy wars, the sex education wars, the catechetical wars, the academic wars, and the over-reaching culture war that has been so much of The Wanderer’s journey over the past 50 years. "

Readers can send their stories
directly to:
Paul Likoudis
P.O. Box 236,
Hector, NY, 14841
or by e-mail
to: paullikoudis@empacc.net.

Minnesota Stem Cell Bill Update

Disputed stem cell bill gets early OK
Partisan Senate vote could be first step toward Pawlenty veto
Pioneer Press

University of Minnesota researchers could use taxpayer funds to conduct stem cell research through the destruction of human embryos under a bill that won support Wednesday from the state Senate.

DFL lawmakers said the state investment is needed to put Minnesota back on top in the field of medical research. Republican opponents countered that any research requiring the destruction of human embryos is unethical and perhaps illegal in Minnesota.

The 36-26 vote is the first of two needed in the Senate. Similar support is expected in the House, but it is unclear whether either chamber has enough votes to overturn the veto Gov. Tim Pawlenty has threatened.

Read the rest here

May I take this opportunity to say that this is an instance where I'm glad Tim Pawlenty is our Governor? Without him, this thing would probably become law. Please take a moment to contact your lawmakers and make your opposition known.

April 25, 2007

More on Potential St. Agnes High School Closure

How We Can Help!

Proceeds from St. Agnes' musical "Beauty and the Beast" will go to the school's operating fund. Performances are April 27-29 and May 4-6. Call 651-228-1636 for information or to buy tickets in advance.

High School has until April 30th to find new students or new funding. Send Money Now! School address is: The Saint Agnes Schools, 530 Lafond Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55103 651-228-1161

Story in April 24, 2007, Pioneer Press by Doug Belden follows...

Facing a projected drop in enrollment for the next school year and struggling with long-standing debts, St. Agnes High School needs to find new students or new funding before the end of the month to prevent closure, according to parish officials.

The K-12 school in St. Paul's Frogtown neighborhood, established in 1888 and widely considered the most traditional of the area's Catholic schools, is facing a "critical deadline," according to a letter sent to parents last week by the Rev. John Ubel, parish pastor and the school's superintendent. The potential closure would affect only the high school - which was added in 1938 - and not the lower grades.

Monday morning, about 70 St. Agnes students, parents and alumni lined both sides of Kellogg Boulevard in front of the archdiocese offices, holding signs and encouraging motorists to honk in support of their school.

"It's such an icon of St. Paul," said Chris Steiner, a St. Agnes alum and father of five current students. "It would be just so sad to see it end this way."

"It's a community. It's more than just a school," junior Sarah Adam explained as she joined the rest of those rallying to save the high school. "There's really a place for everyone to shine."

St. Agnes is struggling with issues common to urban Catholic schools, including a decline in the school-age population and the movement of wealthy Catholics to the suburbs, prompting the need for increased aid for needy families in the city. High school tuition at St. Agnes next year is $7,350.

"The unfortunate and unexpected situation we face today," Ubel's letter reads in part, "is that many students that we expected to enroll for next year have not as of yet, or have expressed an intent to go elsewhere. ... Unless we can increase enrollment in grades nine through twelve, we will not be able to open the doors of the high school next fall."

Uncertain Future / St. Agnes has been running deficits for several years, and the parish has had to borrow more than $1 million to support the school, Ubel said.

The school's operating deficit this year was equal to the total parish income, Ubel said. That's far out of line with the recommendation from the archdiocese, which calls for parishes to spend less than 40 percent of their income on schools.

"It's unsustainable to expect that level of parish subsidy to continue," Ubel said. "The days of borrowing have to end."

Overall enrollment at the school is about 426 students, down from about 600 in 2001-02, a year of upheaval for St. Agnes that saw traumatic divisions among the administration, teachers and students [Note by Cathy: The divisions were because some of the the faculty did not seem to want the school to be Catholic. Then, Pastor, Fr. George Welzbacher, held his ground. My understanding is the "conflicted" faculty and students left].

There are currently about 200 students in grades nine through 12, Ubel said, and the school will lose about 50 graduating seniors. That is not an unusual number of students to have to replace, but the problem is that the school is not getting commitments from new students in the number expected.

The school reduced its staff by six employees earlier this year in response to its financial troubles, and as a result some parents apparently feared that aid for needy families would be cut and that the school's sports and extra-curricular activities would be dramatically reduced next school year, Ubel said.

The problem was compounded by the state high school league's new transfer rule this spring, which prompted some families to enroll elsewhere rather than commit to a school that seemed to have an uncertain future.

Difficult Days / The news of St. Agnes' precarious state comes as the community is grieving the loss of former Monsignor Richard Joseph Schuler, who led the parish from 1969-2001. Schuler died Friday, and a funeral Mass will be held tonight at the church.

"We owe this to Monsignor Schuler," said Michaela Ryan, mother of four St. Agnes students who attended Monday's rally.

The possible closing of an inner-city school is the latest local Catholics have struggled with in recent years.

Blessed Sacrament Catholic elementary on St. Paul's East Side closed in 2005 after 88 years, having watched its enrollment drop to less than a quarter of what it was in the 1970s. And St. Columba's elementary school in the Midway area closed the year before.

Meanwhile, officials note suburban Catholic schools are doing well, with St. Ambrose in Woodbury having a waiting list in recent years. And the region may get another suburban Catholic high school as officials with the Diocese of Superior consider opening one in the Hudson, Wis., area.

As for St. Agnes High School, finding either sufficient students or dollars by April 30 will be a difficult task.

"The potential exists, but it's going to be very tough," said Dennis McGrath, archdiocese spokesman. "It's a tough thing for a private Catholic school to sustain itself, particularly in light of the dynamics of the inner cities."

But Ken Otto, who helped enlist St. Bernard's parents in an effort to save that school a few years ago when it was in a similar situation, said the St. Agnes community should be optimistic. "If they get the support ... they can bring this around. We did."

April 24, 2007

Saint Agnes High School in Danger of Closing

In the Pioneer Press today was an article (that I'm having trouble accessing) about St. Agnes High School, in St. Paul, MN being in danger of closing due to financial problems and enrollment uncertainty.

Most of you know that St. Agnes is one of the most authentically Catholic parishes in the world and it's school is very orthodox as well. Numerous vocations have been fostered from St. Agnes.

My understanding is that the high school is in danger, but not the grade school.

I don't have a definite plan right now because I'm still at work so this post is very much on the fly. More later-maybe tomorrow. Anyone else with ideas or who knows who to send money too, etc. post a comment please.

For now here's the story from the school website:

A Message from Saint Agnes

Saint Agnes High School has been coping with financial challenges for some time, a fact that we have tried to communicate to parents of our students, teachers and parishioners. This situation has been primarily brought about by yearly deficits for several years, the need for large amounts of financial aid for our student population and by a significant decline in our enrollment five years ago. Because of this, we have incurred significant debt during these past years, and the debt is growing. We have been working hard to find solutions to maintain this outstanding Catholic high school. A commitment from families of current and potential students and a significant new donation will be critical to the success of this effort.

Q: What is the financial situation of the school at this time?

A: The Church of Saint Agnes has been extremely generous to its school over the years because we believe in the mission of a faithfully Catholic education. When comparing the school finances in relation to Parish income, some facts become clear. During the 2006-2007 academic year, the operating deficit of the entire school (K-12) will equal the entire level of parish income during the same period. In other words, Saint Agnes Parish is subsidizing the school this year at a rate of 100% of Parish income. The Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis recommends that in order to provide for the sound fiscal health of a parish, that figure should not exceed 40%.

Q: How has Saint Agnes tried to deal with this situation?

A: We made some difficult decisions at mid-year to address some of these problems, including a reduction in force of six employees. This fact in and of itself led to tremendous speculation about our school's future, and some prospective new families began making other plans. It became imperative that we continue to promote our future in the most positive manner possible. This is what we have tried to do, but in more recent weeks it became evident that the registration of even our current students was lagging significantly from what we had anticipated.

Q: What is the specific financial revenue that is needed in order for the high school to open next fall?

A: There is no easy answer to this type of question, because of the many different variables that contribute to the question. Much of it depends on an accurate assessment of enrollment for next year, projected financial aid needs of this enrolled student body, staffing level needs for the size of student body – and ultimately an approved and acceptable level of parish subsidy for next year. For this reason, we are encouraging our families to get their registration materials sent in immediately, we are welcoming contributions to the school which have already started to arrive, and we will continue to look at the all of the information critically as a decision needs to be derived soon.

Q: What is Saint Agnes doing (or what can parents, staff and student do) today to address the situation?

A: Again, we cannot emphasize enough the need for families to make clear their intent of enrollment by completing their registration materials as soon as possible. In addition, there is an appeal going to out to our broad base of supporters and alumni in the next day. If you have practical ideas as to how to help the school address these critical issues, please contact Mary Appel or Jean Houghton at 651/228-1636.

The Saint Agnes Schools, 530 Lafond Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55103 651-228-1161

Bone Pastor

My intentions for my hour of Eucharistic Adoration this evening:

I pray that the just released announcement of His Excellency, John Neinstedt, as Coadjutor for the Archdiocese of St. Paul/Minneapolis, just before Good Shepherd Sunday is a good sign.

I pray that he is a Shepherd of wisdom, orthodoxy, charity and strength. I also pray he has a really good sense of humor, else he go mad dealing with some of the, er, stuff, around here.

I pray for our brothers and sisters of the Diocese of New Ulm who will need a new Bishop now that Bishop Neinstedt is coming here. I continue to pray for our brothers and sisters in the Diocese of Winona who also await a new Shepherd.

I pray for the repose of the soul of Monsignor Richard J. Schuler, whose Funeral Mass is this evening.

I pray that men will be inspired to enter our seminary based upon this wonderful quote by the Rector of St. John Vianney in St. Paul, MN:

"[..]A person [good candidate for the priesthood] has the kind of basic human maturity and emotional and psychological balance to be what we call a spiritual father, that is, the Church not only does not ordain women, it doesn't ordain boys. You have to become a man before becoming a priest. Part of that quality of becoming a spiritual father means you no longer live for yourself and for your own interest and pleasure, but you begin to have an outward concern for others and see yourself called to a life of generosity and sacrifice."

--Fr. William Baer, Interview with The Catholic Servant (Barb Ernster), April 2007.

I'm neck deep in Germania! I pray that is also a good sign! Ha-ha-ha!

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me;
and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand.
My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand.
I and the Father are one."

--John 10: 27 - 30

April 22, 2007

Saints Meme

Mr. Terry of Abbey-Roads2 tagged me for a Saints Meme. I know Terry is worried that I'm not reading his blog or, say it ain't so, ignoring him. Not at all. I take this meme so seriously that I had to really think about it first. Plus, I ignored the Saints for over 35 years so I'm pretty ignorant about them.

I am using the form of the meme as handed down by the Roving Medievalist, not the distorted versions that some blogs have: those creative types who shall not be named here--you know who you are!

List your four favorite saints, your one favorite blessed, and one person you think should have been a saint.

Here we go..

1) St. Catherine of Alexandria (I hope you were all sitting down for that one!). Virgin and martyr of the 4th century A.D. Learned woman, defender of the Faith. Responsible for many conversions. Was to be tortured on a spiked wheel but it broke. She was beheaded by a sword instead. I took her name as my Confirmation name.

2) St. John the Evangelist. I can pick up any of John's Gospel and I just gasp at the beauty of his words and his profundity. Even a bad translation of Scripture can't entirely obliterate him. The beloved disciple. The caretaker of the Blessed Mother. St. John told us to love one another-prescient words for the violent week we have just had in the U.S.

3) St. Joseph. The foster-father of the Lord. I have experienced many graces and had many prayers answered by praying to St. Joseph.

4) St. Jude. The patron saint of hopeless causes. I always say, seemingly, hopeless causes. St. Jude is a powerful intercessor, he's also helped me to accept God's will not mine when my request is not in His plan.

5) St. Louis Marie de Montfort. His Secrets of the Holy Rosary persuaded me of the necessity of praying the Rosary every day. Now, if I would only follow his advice.

Favorite Blessed: Kateri Takakwitha, the Lily of the Mohawks. A powerful witness to Native peoples. She followed her heart to the Lord, risking abuse and exile to do so.

One person who should have been a saint:

Pope Pius XII, perhaps he will be a Saint one day if the Church will ever do as it pleases rather than be afraid of canonizing him thanks to the misrepresentation of his response to the Holocaust. I've been reading a few of his encyclicals lately Divino Afflante Spiritu (talk about someone concerned for accurate translations! How relevent is that today in all this arguing about ICEL translations?) and Humani Generis (another timely writing!). He wrote many encyclicals calling for peace in his time as well as his outstanding encyclicals about Mary and his establishment of the Assumption as infallible dogma.

I tag whoever feels like doing this! It might be interesting to read some priestly blogger responses to the meme!

Gentle Folk and Scholars

The superb group blog: Our Word and Welcome to It is fast becoming the standard bearer for civility in the blogosphere. (some days they are THE standard bearer). After every extreme action, I've noticed, and so have the Hadleybloggers of Our Word, that blog civility frequently takes a dive. It is especially dismaying to see this kind of vitriol on, supposedly, Catholic blogs. Check that: It is dismaying period. If you are going to take the trouble to post your words for public consumption, try to be polite.

If you aren't reading Our Word and Welcome to It, you should be.

Cross-posted to Stella Borealis

April 21, 2007

Violence in Our Society

This week we all watched with horror the violence at Virginia Tech. The day I first saw the news breaking, I'm ashamed to say my response was: "Oh well, another random institutional shooting" I did not even read any of the story until the next day.

I worked for the U.S. Postal Service for 8 years and I have heard all the lame jokes about how all postal workers are sociopaths and psychos. I've been treated to the loathsome phrase "going postal" to apply to any instance of me losing my temper just because I used to work there.

I think we have all seen over the last 20-40 years, that random outbreaks of violence are by no means limited to postal facilities. Today, only one instance of postal violence is in the top five instances of U.S. randomly, violent, mass attacks.

I believe there are many explanations:

*inability of the agressor to get help thanks to our societies aversion to institutionalization and the lack of funding and insurance coverage for mental health services. Mental health institutionalization has been replaced by prison and/or the death penalty.

*extreme pressure to be perfect

*lack of desire to get involved or speak up when you see someone who clearly needs help. This could be an individual being "picked on" in school or by their parents. It may also be seeing an individual who clearly displays violent tendencies

*no coordination of health records among providers and law enforcement. I realize this is "controversial" but without it, people who need help simply fall thru the cracks. One doctor may be aware of this persons history but their next doctor might not. The local police probably don't either.

*acceptability of profanity, name calling, physicality and murder in place of reasoned debate and discussion

*complete lack of respect for life in all its forms

*the absence of God. Not because God is absent but because too many people don't want Him around.

*lack of boundaries. Anything goes these days.

*easy accessiblity to porn, violent and sexually explicit music and videogames, graphic sexual and violent content on T.V., in the movies, and on the Web.

I am not excusing what Cho Seung-Hui did. The news has been filled with evidence that some people knew he had problems, but he fell through the cracks. There was not enough coordination of effort. Now it's too late.

The immediate reaction of many folks has been that if only everyone was armed, this never would have happened. I'm not buying that argument. If our first reaction is that we all need to have guns to feel safe, then something is terribly wrong with our society.

Long time readers of this blog know that I am a gun owner and a hunter, but I have no desire to see everyone armed. This incident illustrated, yet again, that some folks cannot be trusted to handle a gun responsibly. Owning and using a gun is a big responsibility. There will probably always be ways to get guns illegally and that is unfortunate.

Honestly, I barely trust some law enforcement people with guns, much less my neighbor. But, at least, the law enforcement folks have had extensive training and mental health screenings. Even there, we see some of them that probably should not have a gun, but there are more checks in place.

People have the right to defend themselves, yes. But, if you use your brains, your brawn and the tools at hand you can defend yourself without a gun. I could kill someone entering my home with a well placed hit of the letter opener on my desk. Even with a gun, there are no guarantees that violence will not be perpetrated upon you. I could be walking down the street and someone could decide to kill me by coming up behind me and ramming me with their car. I could be in church and someone could decide to blow a bomb. How are guns going to help me there? All I can do is make sure I'm in a state of grace at all times and have trust in the Lord.

At this time, I would like to offer my prayers for the victims and their families as well as the family of Cho Seung-Hui: May God Have Mercy on His Soul.

April 20, 2007

Requiscat In Pace Monsignor Schuler

Monsignor Richard J. Schuler of this Archdiocese died early this morning. He'd been in poor health for some time now.

I was never privileged to meet Monsignor but it doesn't matter. Monsignor was much more then his office or the man.

Each time I attend or hear a Traditional Catholic Mass featuring the music of the Catholic ages, I thank Monsignor for keeping it alive.

Each time I attend a parish where the importance of Confession is emphasized, I thank Monsignor.

Each time I hear the hard Truths of Our Faith during a Homily, I thank Monsignor.

Each time I attend a Mass that is celebrated ad orientem I thank Monsignor.

Each time I receive Communion kneeling at an altar rail, I thank Monsignor.

Each time I attend a parish that was not renovated after Vatican II, I thank Monsignor.

Each time I hear Latin in the Mass, I thank Monsignor.

Almost every good priest in this Archdiocese learned, studied, or was influenced by Monsignor. Each time I hear our local Seminaries are growing, I thank Monsignor.

Each time I attend a Mass that is celebrated with dignity and reverence, I thank Monsignor.

Each time I go to my parish and see the Tabernacle in full view I thank Monsignor. Parish legend at St. Andrew is that after Vatican II, our Tabernacle was hidden away. Monsignor came for a visit and in the words of one old-timer: "threw a fit". The Tabernacle was restored to a place of visible honor in the church where it remains today.

Reserve your pews for his funeral Mass now. It will be standing room only.

God Bless You, Monsignor Schuler, and Thank You.

April 18, 2007

I am Peter

I'm still in contact with some of my dissident Catholic buddies. The tension level at these get-togethers has ratcheted up considerably once it became known that I was going to be Confirmed at the Easter Vigil. Furthermore, that I was NOT going to be "confirmed" at a dissident parish.

I was at a birthday party a few weeks back where you could have cut the tension with a chainsaw. I expected to be railroaded because certain people would be there and I was.

Questions that were asked and my responses:

What did you learn in these Catholicism courses that you did not already know? Teachings straight out of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Did you learn what the 7 Gifts of the Holy Spirit are? Yes.

Why is Confirmation important to you? Because I am finally ready to make an authentic commitment to Christ.

Why are you being Confirmed at that Church? Because my Pastor said it was fine. I'm taking my courses there and I wanted to be with my classmates.

Why didn't you take Confirmation classes at our parish? Because said parish does not teach Catholicism. Look at their website, the Confirmation group learned about Native Spirituality and went on an inner-city field trip to see what it was like to be poor. Not bad things, but not what I think we need, as Catholics, in courses that are supposed to teach us the fundamentals of our Faith. You can learn Native Spirituality somewhere else, some other time. Pretending you are poor for a day is important, but if the point is to learn the tenets of the Faith is it as important as learning what the Catachism REALLY says about conscience? No.

The people asking the questions are all members of a certain parish in Minneapolis that I used to belong to.

The implication behind all their questions was: What's wrong with our parish? Why did you leave? What are you learning that we don't know? What's wrong with us? At the end of the day my inquisitors think: There's nothing wrong with us, it's you, Cathy, who has a problem.

One gal was getting really angry. She has a lot of major issues and bitterness about various aspects of her life going way back. She's frequently angry about a lot of things. I've come to believe that the Church is her convenient scapegoat because IT can't talk back and she chooses not to listen to it anyway. She feels that the Church wronged her throughout her life. Why? I've come to see that it's because the Church or a Priest told her something she was doing was wrong. She does not want to hear that and doesn't think anyone or anything has the right to tell her anything she does or believes is right or wrong. But, she gets ticked off the minute you try to point out to her that she is wrong. She shuts down and dialog is impossible. It's funny, because her parish advocates dialog 24/7 but its impossible to dialog with someone who is so bitter her mind is closed.

You hear a lot of talk in the dissident set about the necessity of "dialog" in order to reach an understanding of divergent viewpoints. What they really want is for you to agree with them as a result of the dialog. If not agreement, then that you'll agree to just go away and leave them alone.

Honestly, I ask myself: If you put two Catholics in a room and one really hates the Church and almost everything it teaches and the other loves the Church and everything it teaches. How is dialog even possible? You aren't even starting from the same page.

However, I remind myself that dialog may be possible if both Catholics really KNOW what the Church teaches. Dissidents have been fed so much distorted garbage by folks who should, and probably do, know better, that they, in many cases, have no real understanding of Catholicism. In my humble opinion, real dialog can start with the Catachism. Both of us will read the CCC in its entiriety first and then we can dialog.

The response to my back and forth with the gang at the party was silence. They can't, at the end of the day, deny anything I said. They know they are: a) ignorant of and/or b) willfully choosing to ignore Church teachings.

The discussion finally drifted into the mindfield of Confession. I know I told some of you that some of my buddies had a major problem with me when I announced a few years ago that I had gone back to Individual Confession. It all fell apart at this point. They don't think they need it, general absolution twice/year is good enough, there shouldn't be First Confession for kids before First Communion etc. etc.

At this point, we all went, unsaid, into a safer topic. We all realized we were there for another purpose, that being, to honor a friend on her birthday not to have a big fight at her house.

Lest everyone reading this think I'm post-Ascension Peter traveling straight into trouble, defending the Lord before the Sanhedrin and all that, forget it. With a few shining exceptions, I take the safe route of not saying anything in the interest of keeping the collective peace and saving my own big butt. I'm Peter after the arrest of Jesus, denying Him. Much more then 3 times, let me tell you.

I know I should not be like this. I should have the courage of the martyrs. I should have the courage of St. Catherine of Alexandria but I don't.

You read a lot about Catholics who are upset because they don't hear enough tough truths from the pulpit during the Homily. I agree, we don't. However, I have to ask myself: How much tough truth am I telling? Should I be worried more about myself then whether my priest is courageous or not? Don't get me wrong. It is critical that our priests be lions for the Faith, however, it's just as critical that we are too. That I am too.

Breaking News: SC Upholds Ban on Partial Birth Abortion

The Supreme Court has upheld the nationwide ban on a controversial abortion procedure, the Associated Press reports. The 5-4 ruling said the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act that Congress passed and President Bush signed into law in 2003 does not violate a woman's constitutional right to an abortion.

Praise God.

April 17, 2007

Workplace Fashion Horror

This is the kind of post I should probably leave to the expert, Mr. Terry over at Abbey-Roads2, but my eyes are burning so I just have to share.

Ladies: The short tops that end before the waist on your pants is not acceptable workplace attire. I don't care how sculpted your abs are, it's not a professional look.

I just saw a VERY full-figured gal in one of these tops, her belly wiggling below it in full view. She's in the office. What was she thinking? However, she's not the only one who wears these tops to the workplace.

There is also a point where people need to wear not only what looks good on them but also keep an eye towards modesty.

I could probably blog at length about appropriate attire but I am currently inappropriately posting this on work time so away I go!

Yikes! Cover IT up!

April 16, 2007

Watch Out for Bicyclists!

Ah Spring! Nice weather, get the bike out, almost get hit by a car....

Yes, every early Spring, drivers forget to watch for bicyclists and it can be pretty treacherous out there.

A driver turned right against the light and almost hit me tonight. I saw him in the nick of time and stopped but I was unable to click both feet out of my pedals and went down. My right calf is really cut up from the back of my pedal scraping it. I want to take the opportunity to publicly thank my Guardian Angel because it could have been a lot worse.

I'm not one of those cyclists that crosses on red and runs lights either.

Of course, now I may have more leg scars to add to my collection. I already have 2 on my left leg from bike accidents. We'll see. Maybe I need a calf tattoo of my Angel?

My buddy called me to see if I made it home ok, because he was there when the accident happened. "I bet you took your bike to the shop BEFORE you went home" I hate it when people talk like they know me! Yes, I went to Erik's Bike Shop first, bleeding all over the place. Hey, my bike costs more than my car! Plus, I can't stand not to have access to my bike. Yes, Mom. (if she were here) Poor excuses. What can I say? You can become an adult but you can't fully remove the teenager from the adult.

Be CAREFUL out there!

Aren't You Glad You are Holy? Don't You Wish Everyone Was?

Gentle Reader: Some days when I'm at Holy Mass or I"m in the church before or after, I can't help but wish I was the only one there. Just me, God and the Celebrant. The rest of my collective members of the Body of Christ can just stay home.

You know what I mean. I'm sure many of my blog readers have been in a similar situation.

You deliberately go to the church early so that you can pray and someone walks in and at full volume starts talking about their latest medical complaints to someone else in the church. I've even had people walk right up to me when I'm obviously praying and start talking about something completely unrelated to my personal prayer.

Then there are the folks who sit behind you and talk during the entire Homily.

I have absolutely, no problem, with infants or children making noise. They are still learning. I'm talking about the adults, who, in my opinion, are the main offenders.

I should take the opportunity to note that these experiences have occurred to me in a variety of parishes. Before someone posts a comment with something along the lines of "We never have talking before, after or during Mass at St. Agnes." Friend, I'm here to tell you that, yes, you do.

Well, yesterday, I'm in church before Mass praying my Divine Mercy Novena and Chaplet, or, rather TRYING to pray it and "yakkety-yak, don't look back" is happening all around me. I, remembered, thinking, this is ridiculous and I need to change parishes.

Yes, I have commented to my pastor and a member of our Parish Council but they do not, clearly, think this is an area of concern since they've done nothing and said nothing about it.

Given that I have already established that this problem is not unique to any one parish. Where can I go? I suppose I could go to some parish where it is less of a problem then in mine.

Then, I stopped myself.

If all of us who are upset about something gather only in a few parishes what good will that do? If all of the orthodox Catholics only keep to themselves, how can we have any impact on the garbage that's going on in some of our parishes?

Dissident Catholics have absolutely no problem infiltrating any parish they want. Sure, they, too, generally, prefer to keep to a few parishes but I think they do a better job of spreading their particular brand of the Faith around then we do. In fact, dissident Catholics are ENCOURAGED to take "the fight" to others.

I know there is a point at which a parish may be so bad and you've tried so many times but nothing is changing and you have to go elsewhere. However, I think a lot of us just walk away and gripe, rather then actually trying to do something about it.

Have you actually spoken to or written your pastor? Have you expressed your concerns to your parish council? Do you call the parish secretary when you see something in your Bulletin that is contrary to Church teaching?

I've decided that I need to pray before and after Mass. If I have to do it during the collective din, so be it. What's important is that the Lord sees. It's important that I keep my dialogue with the Lord going-no matter what the circumstances. I've also decided that it is important to witness to prayer by having people actually see me doing it. This may crack some of you up, but, I'm known in my parish for my orthodoxy. Not because of my blog or newspaper appearances, but because of my gestures, postures, dress and attention during Holy Mass. When I told my Pastor that I used to be a member of St. Joan of Arc, he was stunned. He could not believe it, because I seemed so orthodox.

It does no good if we are all in hiding. Come out and be a witness for the Faith!

Shamanism at MCTC

Today's Pioneer Press has a story on Minneapolis Community and Technical College's (MCTC) desire to offer a diploma in Shamanic Studies. It is thought that this course would appeal to students in their 2-year nursing program.

The school took the program out, for now, after several Native American communities objected, believing the program will be teaching shamanism. The instructor, quoted in the article, says the program will teach awareness not actually "how-to" be a shaman.

I saw this headline at 4:45 this morning and I, seriously, thought it was a joke! I had not had my coffee yet (and you know how cranky I get!) so maybe I was seeing things, thought I.

Well, it's not a joke and, for once, I was not hallucinating. MCTC really wants to offer a diploma in shamanic studies.

This is so wrong on so many levels that I hardly know where to begin.

In the first place, MCTC is a state-funded institution. What are they doing offering diplomas in religious studies that they want to market to nurses?

Shamanism is seen by pagans as something that has a holiness to it. To them, it is religious. Sure, it's not what we Christians may consider holy or religious. But, to Native Americans who practice Traditional Spirituality, not just anyone can be or call themselves a shaman. Shamanism is a calling. People who actually are entitled to be called a Shaman are believed to be endowed with special gifts by the god or gods. There is no "coursework" in shamanism. The skill is passed on, usually by apprenticing to another Shaman for years, if not, decades. Healing is only one, possible, aspect of shamanism. Not all shamans are healers.

This program is bunk. No wonder the Native American community is concerned.

Do any of us think for one minute if the courses being sold to nurses were, say, "The Healing Power of Prayer" or "The Salvific Power of the Sacraments of Anointing and Reconciliation" it would even be offered? Yet, paganism, under the seemingly benign phrase of "alternative medicine" is a perfectly acceptable medical offering in our tax-supported, public, educational institutions.

Safe Haven for Newborns

In the state of Minnesota:

You can leave your baby,
up to 3 days old,
with a hospital employee
at any hospital in Minnesota -
no questions asked.

Read more about it here . On that webpage, is information on other, similar laws, in other states.

I wanted to broadcast this message because this year three newborns have been found in the Mississippi River. Last week, we read the horrifying story of a local woman who stabbed her newborn girl 135 times and threw her in the trash.

If you don't want your child, somewhere there is someone who does. Someone who can offer it a good home, who will love it and care for it.

For mercies sake, think, before you hurt or attack your child.

April 15, 2007

My Lord and My God!

On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you."
When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.
Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you."
And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit.
If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained." Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came.
So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord." But he said to them, "Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails, and place my finger in the mark of the nails, and place my hand in his side, I will not believe."
Eight days later, his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. The doors were shut, but Jesus came and stood among them, and said, "Peace be with you."
Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side; do not be faithless, but believing."
Thomas answered him, "My Lord and my God!"
Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe." Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book;
but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name.

--John 20: 19 - 31

Today's Gospel reading is my second favorite passage in all of Scripture. My favorite being the Last Gospel in John 1: 1-18.

I identify very strongly with St. Thomas the Apostle. I, frequently, doubt if I can not see it. Yet, our very Faith requires all of us to believe what we have not actually seen.

St. Thomas' simple, yet, profound, exclamation: "My Lord and My God" is something I say, silently, during every elevation at Holy Mass. I see the Lord right before me and I praise Him.

In this passage, we see, too, Jesus giving the Apostles the authority to forgive sin. A fine example of His Divine Mercy. Before He went home to His Father, he left us with the hope of forgiveness for our sins.

Give Thanks to the Lord for He is Good! His Mercy Endures Forever.

April 14, 2007

Ordination Remembrance Card

The St. Andrew Daily Missal that Ray gave me as a Confirmation gift has some really beautiful prayer cards in it.

One of the cards is in honor of a priestly ordination. The priest's name is on the card: Fr. Vincent Colon, ordained June 3, 1950. Does anyone know (or knew) Fr. Colon or if he's still alive? I was able to find out that he was at St. Timothy in Maple Lake in 1966 and his First Solemn Mass was at St. Adalbert in St. Paul but that's all.

I would do more research and make some calls if I had more time. For now, I'm taking the lazy route and asking via the blog first. If Fr. Colon is still alive, I think he should have his card back if he wants it.

Anyway, the sentiment on the card is something you definitely don't see much of these days-unfortunately:

The Priest

He is another Christ--respect him;
He is God's representative--trust him;
He is your benefactor--be thankful to him.

At the Altar

He offers your prayers to God--do not forget him;
He prays for you and yours in Purgatory--ask God's mercy for him.

In the Confessional

He is the physician of your soul--show him its wounds;
He directs you towards God--follow his admonitions;
He is judging--abide by his decisions.

In His Daily Life

He is human--do not hastily condemn him;
He is human--a word of kindness will cheer him;
If you must tell his faults--tell them to God, that He may give him light and strength to correct them;
He has a great responsibility--ask God to guide him in life, and to be merciful to him in death.

All merciful God, grant to my parents, brothers and sisters, relatives and friends Your choicest blessings and the reward of Heaven on the Day of Judgement; for their prayers, guidance and sacrifices have helped me to Your Holy Altar

I can't get this card out of my mind. It extols a respect and admiration for our priests that is sadly lacking today. In my CINO days, I used to hear a lot of dissident Catholics "poo-poo" the priesthood and look back in anger on the "old days" when they were "forced" to think priests were like gods because that's what they were told and that's what they thought the priests expected. Frankly, there is a lot of distortion of reality going on in the CINO crowd. They are really angry about something else but the clergy and the Church are easy scapegoats.

I don't think the card is saying priests are without fault. Remember, this card is from the "old days". I think the card does a good job of walking the line between respect for their superordinary state and their humanity.

This remembrance card reiterated to me, yet again, that some "Catholics" are so angry about "something" (because, honestly, who knows what has ticked them off-seems like just about everything!) that they can't let it go and in their inability to move on they distort perhaps some mistakes a priest made by projecting it to all priests.

That last paragraph where the priest is asking for blessings upon those who helped bring him to ordination is very moving. How many of us actively pray for ordination? How many families make sacrifices so their sons can go to seminary? I think the tide is turning but slowly.

Some of the sentiment on this card may be perceived as "controversial" in this day and age. Trust in the collective priesthood has been shaken in the last 7 years because some, individual, priests were predators. However, if we can't at least try to regain trust, work on trust, or start from trust in our relationships with Our Shepherds, we are doomed as a Church. On March 29, 2016 I posted an update to the post above. here

Cathy's Local Music Shuffle

I'm always amazed at the amount of musical talent we have in the Twin Cities. I loaded up my local stuff and set the Jukebox to shuffle and here's what I got for the first five:

1) "Adore" Prince Sign O' the Times
2) "Crazy He Calls Me" Charmin Michelle Destination Moon
3) "Bits and Pieces" Suicide Commandos The Commandos Commit Suicide Dance Concert
4) "Passing Sad Daydream" Soul Asylum While You Were Out
5) "Don't Want to Know if You are Lonely" Husker Du Candy Apple Grey

April 13, 2007

Pope Set to Make Mark on U.S. Church

Deep Curtsy to Christine

Pope Set To Make Mark on U.S. Church


Key appointments are expected in New York, Baltimore and Detroit, where cardinals have reached retirement age — 75. And retirements or appointments are likely in at least seven other dioceses and archdioceses: Seattle; Minneapolis-St. Paul; Pittsburgh; New Orleans; Louisville, Ky.; Omaha, Neb.; and Mobile, Ala.

Local Catholics: It may be time to start praying about our Coadjutor again....

April 12, 2007

Realism vs. Reality

During lunch I got caught up on some reading and I thought the column by Mark Shea in the April 1-7, 2007 National Catholic Register was just hilariously true!

Here's an excerpt:

Likewise, the apostles were Bible characters, not people. So when they say, “We saw the risen Christ!” modern folk are ready to believe anything from mass epilepsy to ball lightning as the more “realistic” explanation.

After all, say the media, the apostles were 2,000 years stupider than us. If they report they saw Lazarus raised from the dead, it’s because they (who lived in a world where death was frequent and often highly public) knew less about death than we, whose principal experience of death comes through watching “ER.”

They were too stupid to know a sick man when they saw him. So they buried Lazarus alive. Because, as all “realists” know, four nights in a freezing crypt without food or water is just what the desperately ill need to bounce back.


Read the rest here

Minnesota Weather

"Sometimes it snows in April"--Prince

April 11, 2007

The Wedding is Over

Gentle Reader: As I was running around, frantically, getting ready for Confirmation at the Easter Vigil, it occurred to me that this must be what getting ready to be married is like. Let's look at the evidence:

*running around trying to get a new outfit at the last minute!
*ruining said outfit with candle wax during the ceremony!
*worrying if my shoes would be comfortable enough or if my heel was too high!
*worrying if my Dad would get there on time!
*worrying about the bad knees and the physical endurance of the person witnessing for me!
*wondering where my friends were (Ray!)
*trying to remain calm!
*trying not to get upset over minor snafus like someone sat in our pew!
*doing my nails 1 hour before we left!
*worrying about my hair and it did not matter one whit because it collapsed anyway!
*questioning if I"m ready and worthy
*wondering what I'd do if Father Conlin forgot to call my name!
*worrying if I was asked to recite a Profession of Faith, I wouldn't remember it
*general sense of panic

Since Scripture is just chock full of wedding imagery, I thought this was a somewhat appropriate analogy. In a sense, I did wed myself to Christ via His Church.

But, the wedding is over. Now what?

How do you keep the honeymoon going? How do you combat spiritual dryness? For the last 7 months, I've been, intensively, working towards a goal. I made it, but I want to keep the Spirit alive. I don't want to burn out.


April 09, 2007

Confirmation Photos

I want to apologize for the poor quality of these photos. My digital camera is inoperative so I had to go to the film. Some of the photos my Dad took (Bless his heart!) are so blurry that I'm not going to post them. My Dad managed to cut about 1/4 of my head off in the sole photo I have with just me in it. And, it happens to be one of the blurry ones. But, you can see my big smile and the glistening oil on my head (or that could just be my oily skin and the whole thing is a big hoax!).

Here's my Dad, Wayne, (Hizzoner) on the left, Me, my sponsor, Bob.

Ladies and Gentlemen, it's Startime at Holy Trinity! Straight from his engagement at the Church of St. Augustine. Give it up for the Godfather of Twin Cities Blogdom, the One, the Only, Notorious R-A-Y, Ray from MN everybody! [the blogsphere goes wild!]

The newest, full member, of the Church Militant: me.

My friend, Adoro Te Devote, could not be there but, look, her Guardian Angel WAS there as Adoro said!

April 08, 2007

I'm So Exultant

It's 1:00 a.m. Easter Sunday morning (Alleluia, He is Risen!) I'm so exultant right now that I can't sleep so I may as well blog.

I'm overcome.

I've been a "Catholic" for 38 years and I never felt more real than I do right now. For decades the Faith meant nothing to me. I couldn't explain it, didn't know it, didn't care. If you've read my blog for a while, you know some of my reversion story: My nearly two decades of darkness at a certain parish in south Minneapolis, my scandalous behavior, erroneous beliefs, etc. etc.

It is YOU, my online Catholic brothers and sisters who helped make a difference in my life. It is YOU, Rosary Army, who helped make a difference in my life. It is ALL OF YOU, who prayed for me even when I was part of the faceless collective of the mistaken CINO's (Catholic In Name Only)

The service was beautiful. I was Confirmed at Holy Trinity in South St. Paul, Minnesota. Fr. Conlin presiding, assisted by many others, including Fr. Bryan Pedersen.

Holy Trinity is not my regular parish but I took Catholicism instruction there from Fr. Altier. My priest at St. Andrew in St. Paul was fine with me being Confirmed there. I wanted to be with my classmates. 22 weeks of instruction. This is actually the second time I took Fr. Altier's class but I was not ready to make the commitment last year.

I think it is hilarious that me, former big-time dissenter, is the only one old-school enough, in a class of 10, to have picked a Confirmation name! Yes, you guessed it, Gentle Reader: Catherine for Catherine of Alexandria.

My Dad was there. He drove down from northern Minnesota. My sponsor, Bob, is a long time family friend and a key part of my reversion. Bob is "Gravy Guy" from an earlier blog post. I keep praying that he will answer the call to become a Deacon. He'd be really good at it.

Oh, and a certain blogger named Ray from MN was there-sort of! Ray really felt the call to go to St. Augustine down the street for some reason. The Tridentine Mass there didn't even start until 11:00 p.m. I know Ray likes to pray before Mass but that's extreme, even for Ray! He showed up at Holy Trinity in time to have his photo taken and give me an old Missalette, that belonged to a Catherine, as a gift. When that Motu Proprio is released, I'm ready! (Ray, I KNOW I told you it was at Holy Trinity)

I'll have photos up in a day or so. My Dad was so excited (or confused by the East Metro like he always is) that he forgot to take photos during the ceremony itself. Oh well, God knows I was there and that's all that matters.

God Bless and Thank You for your prayers!

Janice Lynn Catherine LaDuke

Hmmmm...what can I do now? I'm so hyper! I think I'll go read some more of that Autobiography of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque.

Update 4/9/07: Photos are here

Surrexit Christus Hodie!

Regina coeli, laetare, alleluia: Quia quem meruisti portare, alleluia. Resurrexit sicut dixit, alleluia. Ora pro nobis Deum, alleluia.

V. Gaude et laetare, Virgo Maria, Alleluia,

R. Quia surrexit Dominus vere, alleluia.

Oremus: Deus qui per resurrectionem Filii tui, Domini nostri Iesu Christi, mundum laetificare dignatus es: praesta, quaesumus, ut per eius Genetricem Virginem Mariam, perpetuae capiamus gaudia vitae. Per eundem Christum Dominum nostrum.

R. Amen.

April 07, 2007

Holy Saturday

Gentle Reader: The Tempter has been hitting me hard the last 24 hours. First, there was the voice telling me that even though I was newly conscious of the grave sin of applying for a job at an abortion clinic a decade ago, I did not have to go to Confession. "I was just fine. I just went to Confession yesterday." I almost gave in and received Communion at the Good Friday Mass of the Passion. I refrained and found a Confessional right afterwards. Thanks Be to God.

Then, last night, really bad dreams. Not even funny.

"I claim the protection of the Blood of the Lamb"
"St. Michael the Archangel..."

Vincenzo's Dream of My Dream

Super Photoshopper Blogdom Man, Vincenzo, in my prior post about my dream had his own strange dream...

So this was the last thing I read before going to sleep last night. I had a dream that I was in the Dukes of Hazzard universe and Uncle Jesse owned a liquor store. Cooter was the former owner and was determined to get back into the business. I didn't see Father Z however. A dream about a blog about a dream. Bizarre.

I'm not sure Fr. Z wasn't there.....

Fr. Z a moonshine runner? Who knew?

LOL! Thanks, Vincenzo, I needed that laugh!

Update: 8:21 a.m. April 7th: And here he is again!

Father is probably asking for directions while Boss Hogg is asking me..oh, never mind...[Roscoe laugh]

Update Easter Sunday A.D. 2007: Father Z zinged Vincenzo and me! He might have added that he would run over Coy and Vance if he saw them, but he is a man of God. I on the other hand....

Update 4:00 a.m. Easter Monday: ROFL!

April 06, 2007

Carry the Cross of Abortion

I just got home from my prayer vigil at Planned Parenthood in St. Paul's Highland Park neighborhood. I was there for about 1 1/2 hours. It's really cold and windy today. I was lamenting the fact that I did not wear long johns as I approached the area. However, I forgot all about being cold when I saw how many were on the side of life. The pro-life side FAR outnumbered the pro-death side.

These vigils are tough. Every honk in support of the other side is like another thorn digging into Christ's head. Every cheer from the other side is like the crowds cheering at The Passion and Death of Our Lord.

An evangelical pastor reminded us that many of us may have once been on the other side. True. I used to be. Not all of the sheep have been found yet.

There were women there carrying the "I regret my abortion" signs. God bless them for their courage.

There was a visible Catholic presence. Rosaries, Signs of the Cross, Catholic bumper stickers. Praise God.

It's time like these that I feel that Christian unity is possible. So many of different faiths can bond over this and come together. With God, nothing is impossible.

Pray for an end to abortion.

Update: 2:15 p.m. It's amazing the things you remember. I just recalled that, 13 years ago, I applied for a job at that same Planned Parenthood building I was praying in front of this morning. I knew full well what went on in there but I was mired in dissent. I had completely blanked it out. Off I go to Confession....

Divine Mercy

Gentle Reader: Today, is the day that a Divine Mercy Novena may be started. It's also a good day to pray for life; specifically, protection for the unborn.

Today at Planned Parenthood in St. Paul is the annual gathering for life. It is very well organized this year. Ray has the schedule.

Because of a late night Adoration Vigil and the corresponding Adoration "High" afterwards (New phrase? Has anyone else ever experienced that?) I could not go to sleep even though I was very tired. Translation for all this long windedness? I slept later than planned. However, I'm still going over to Planned Parenthood to pray. I'll be praying a Rosary a Divine Mercy Novena and a Divine Mercy Chaplet. It's never too late. Go any time! Pray any time-even if you can't be there unite your prayers with ours! A Catholic presence throughout the day would be just wonderful.

April 05, 2007

It's Unfolding Before My Eyes!

Gentle Reader: I am overcome. It's really happening. Soon, I will be a FULL member of Christ's Church. I'm happy, scared, awed, humble all at once. Who am I that the Lord should want me? Former big-time dissenter, still a troublemaker, still a sinner, yet, here I am, Lord.

Yesterday, evening we had rehearsals for the Vigil. It really hit me. All of the 10 people that will be up there with me, in whatever their particular situation is, were all radiant and grinning nonstop.

I've been reflecting upon what a difference a short span of time can mean. 2 years ago, I had never even heard of the Triduum. Easter was almost just another Mass day but more crowded. The rituals were meaningless to me. For a long time, I thought they were stupid.

Really, I'm crying right now. I can't even find the words to adequately describe what I'm going through right now.

I took today thru Monday off work so I can really just be with Him as much as possible. I may try and make this a yearly tradition.

Thank you to ALL who have prayed for me. God Bless You.

April 03, 2007

Cathy's Dream

Last night I had the strangest dream....

I was in a field with a big group of Catholic bloggers. I'm not sure, but it looked like the Como Park soccer field

There was a tent set up for Catholic etiquette. The Carolina Cannonball and Elena Maria Vidal were the hostesses in this tent.

There was a liturgical banner creation tent but it burned down. Fr. Richsteig was the last person seen in the vicinity. It may have been nice to have Adoro's firefighting skills handy but she could not be found.

Terry was explaining to the horrified Hadleybloggers why disco never died.

Ray from MN broke his Rosary (again!) and the lady at Leaflet Missal who used to fix it quit so he was on the ground weeping with sorrow.

A woman in a burqa walked up to me: "SHHHHH....I'm the Ironic Catholic"

Angela Messenger was walking around with soap suds stuck to her chin.

Christine Schult kept trying to give me bottles of Breck Boy shampoo.

Fr. Z was standing around holding a jug of moonshine. His fans were pestering him and asking if the motu proprio had been released. Father just kept muttering: "Bugatti...Ferrari...Bugatti...Ferrari"

Fr. Finigan decided to organize a "stretch of the legs" which ended up being a hundred mile hike through the Sleeping Beauty forest and up the cliffs by the river. He came back having lost everyone with him. Smoking a cig he said: "I don't know my sheep and they don't know me" I think that was supposed to explain why he lost everyone but then he vanished.

Somehow, we all ended up back at my house. Happy Catholic was cooking.

Adoro ran in: "I have seen the breadcrust!"


The end.

April 02, 2007

Ah Aprill!

Whan that Aprill, with his shoures soote
The droghte of March hath perced to the roote
And bathed every veyne in swich licour,
Of which vertu engendred is the flour;
Whan Zephirus eek with his sweete breeth
Inspired hath in every holt and heeth
The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne
Hath in the Ram his halfe cours yronne,
And smale foweles maken melodye,
That slepen al the nyght with open eye-
(So priketh hem Nature in hir corages);
Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages
And palmeres for to seken straunge strondes
To ferne halwes, kowthe in sondry londes;

--Prologue to The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer


Avery Stately and Tristan White. Gaagige-bimaadiziwin

April 01, 2007

Voice of the Twins has Died

Today, the day before the 2007 Twins home opener, Herb Carneal, the longtime radio voice of the Twins has died at the age of 83.

He was my favorite announcer.

Rest in Peace, Mr. Carneal. Thanks for the memories.

Prayer Request

Please pray for all the people who will be received into the Church on the Easter Vigil. Including me! I formerly received all of the Sacraments of Initiation except Confirmation. I am being Confirmed at Holy Trinity in South St. Paul on Holy Saturday. 8:00 p.m. Holy Trinity is the site of my Catholicism classes; though it's not my regular parish. I received permission to be Confirmed there because I want to be with my classmates. 22 weeks of instruction! Yippee! Praise God.

When It's Time To Let Go

A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning

As virtuous men pass mildly away,
And whisper to their souls, to go,
Whilst some of their sad friends do say,
"The breath goes now," and some say, "No:"

--John Donne

It's hard to let go of a loved one. It's hard to accept when that loved one makes the decision to die. I'm not talking, in this instance, of ending their life via suicide or euthanasia. I'm talking about the moment that they make the decision to forgo more treatment. The moment when they are tired. Tired, of therapy, tired of pills, just tired. They may perceive, or have been told by a trusted doctor, that there is no chance for a cure. The loved one may make a decision that they are ready to die. At that point, it can be harder for those of us who will remain behind to accept their choice. The loved one has probably been bracing themselves for the likelihood that this decision may come eventually for some time. Some of us, who are cargivers, may have known that the decision may come but it is still hard for everyone to accept when it does.

I've mentioned before that my I lost both my mother and my brother to cancer. My brother was very young when he died and any decision of what to do at the end of his life was left to my parents because my brother was incapable of deciding anything on his own. Both of them died at home. The family felt it was important that they pass on in loving and familiar surroundings. Neither of them wanted to be in an institution. It was really tough caring for them at home, but somehow we all made it work.

After years of battling cancer, one day my Mom said "That's it. No more" as we were riding down the elevator from the doctor's office. I drove her to the clinic that day for her weekly dose of chemotherapy and I could see that she had had enough on her face. My Mom was afraid of needles and as time went on it became harder for the nurses to find a vein that would not collapse. They would spend a lot of time digging around while my Mom winced, yelled and cried.

Two years ago we witnessed two simultaneous examples of death: Pope John Paul II and Terri Schiavo. The Holy Father embraced his cross (literally, as some of us saw during the televised Way of the Cross that week) with dignity, grace and holiness. He was surrounded by people who loved him. He had ready access to the Sacraments. He proved that he was no less vital a teacher in his twilight then he was during his vigorous years.

Terri Schiavo, on the other hand, had any decisions she may have made to go as gracefully as possible into eternal life forcibly taken from her. She was deprived of even the most merciful, basic care. She was deprived of nutrition and water. She was deprived of the presence of her loved ones. I seem to recall her family had to fight to even get the Sacraments to her.

Obviously, as Catholics, the Holy Father's death was a better example of appropriate end of life care and decisions then Terri Schiavo's was. However, I have a feeling the the Lord was equally and greatly merciful towards both of them.

Facing the end of life is not easy for any one. It's not easy for the dying person, it's not easy for the loved ones they will leave behind. We are all told that we must take up our Cross and follow Him. That we must unite our sufferings with Jesus' Passion. It is easier to hear about it then do it.

The painting that I chose to go with this post is Edvard Munch's By the Death Bed. Notice that the dying person almost melts into the bed. We don't even see the face of the dying person. What we do see are the mourners around the bed. But, we don't even see them in their entiriety. They have poorly defined mouths. No way to adequately convey their grief through words. We see their eyes, black rimmed and deep staring at us blankly or closed. Their heads bowed or up and stoic. Otherwise, they are largely expressionless.

How we treat the dying can teach us as much about ourselves and where our priorities are as it can teach the dying person unity with His suffering. We can see where the priorities of some of Terri Schiavo's family lay. Some were appropriate, others were not. During the later years of Pope John Paul II's pontificate, many were calling for him to step down because it was felt that anyone who is not 100% healthy should just go away and die quietly someplace else. A lot of people just can't face the thought of death. Even if it's not them or anyone they know personally. They just don't want to think about it.

This is why we have so many people dying all alone and unloved in nursing homes and hospital wards all over the world. They may not have family to care for them or perhaps they do but the family just doesn't want to deal with it so the dying person is sent away. It is not easy to care for someone who is dying. I've done it more then a few times. Someday that will be me. I can only pray that whoever is left gives a damn. If not, then I may have the opportunity to be truly just like Jesus during His Passion. How many spoke up and helped Him in his dying moments?

Gentle Reader: It is SO important that well before your final illness you make your wishes known. Not only where you want to be buried, your funeral and who you want to benefit from your estate, but also how you want your final care to go. You need to specify that under no circumstance are you to be denied water if that's what you want. Or perhaps, nutrition and water. It is critical that you specify that you want to receive Communion every Sunday and Holy Day of Obligation. That you want a priest to be available to hear your regular Confession. That you want the Last Rites and the Apostolic Pardon (if necessary). Where will you be cared for? Who will care for you? How will you pay for it? Choose an executor, preferably a practicing Catholic, to make sure your wishes are followed. Don't wait. Think about it now. Do it now.

It's a sad fact of life that you may THINK your loved ones will do X when you are in your dying hour, the reality is they may do Y. People are human. Sometimes we take the easy route.

Recommended Reading: There are many excellent Catholic texts on end-of-life care. A good place to start is Part 5 of the USCCB Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, Fourth Edition

Crossing the Bar

Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea,

But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.

Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;

For tho’ from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crossed the bar.

--Alfred Lord Tennyson
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