Monthly Archives: December 2009

Things I *REALLY* Enjoyed In 2009

My very first March for Life – on January 22nd, 2009, Bill and I headed down to Washington, DC earlier than I would normally leave for work.  We drove down and went to the Mass that was celebrated by Cardinal Rigali and concelebrated by Fr. G.  It was an amazing experience ant I think the thing that surprised me most about it was the number of young people there!  Seems like if the media even has anything to say about it, all they every show are pictures of people who can barely get around anymore.  But there were more school kids – from K-college! – and young adults there than anything else.  It was fantastic and we can’t wait to go again in 2010!!  (Visit the March for Life site for more info 🙂

Spending time with Fr.G. – I just lucked out this year and everything fell into place; I got to spend a ton of time with Fr.G. this past year. We got in the habit of sharing a meal now and then even before he was transferred to his new Parish. Everything from the Make Every Person Count campaign to my St.D’s Photo-shoot to Bible Study – I think the Gospel of Luke with be my favorite book of the Bible forever…..and remember…..if Jesus had been more like Mr. Rogers, he never would have wound up nailed to a cross 🙂

Brittany’s Cross Country Days I know, right? First of all, I never ever would have thunk I’d be the mother of a sports kid. I mean yeah, it’s not like I’m a “soccer mom” and considering swimming and cross country, while still team efforts are decidedly more solo competitions so I still feel like I’m encouraging independence, and not a clique mentality. Anyway, I really enjoyed the meet days out at Belmont and even the practice days. We developed a nice camaraderie with the coaches and we watched Brittany grow from not wanting to go to the second practice, to only wanting to do it for a month….and now to “I can’t wait for Track to start!”. She took an amazing 5 full seconds off her official times from the first meet to the championship and even more impressive…..she got me to start running!!

Catching up with old friends – Yes, I have to admit it.  Thanks to FaceBook, I’ve caught up with a lot of people I’m sorry I ever lost touch with.  And been reminded that there’s probably a reason certain people don’t stay in your life.  I’m glad to have you all in my life – God bless you all!!

The Concerts in Pennypack Park – What a great time!!  This is another one of those things that I’d always heard people talking about, always seen advertised and frequently said “We have to go to that!” but never got around to it.  Well this summer, we did and went to almost every show.  We had a ball each and every time – brought dinner and drinks with us and just spent the whole evening in the park once a week listening to whatever cover band was there….from Stevie Ray to Springsteen, the Pennypack Concerts rocked 😉

Make Every Person Count – This was just a wonderful opportunity put forth by Cardinal Rigali to reach out to members of our Parish in the interest of better meeting their spiritual needs and addressing their concerns for the Parish. I am forever grateful to Fr.G. and MLB for inviting me to co-chair the committee 🙂

The Polish Festival – One of those time where we really didn’t know what to expect….but Bill, Brittany and I all went out to Our Lady of Czestochowa Shrine in Doylestown, PA for their big Polish Fest over the two weekends around Labor Day – it was awesome!!  All kinds of music and crafts and the food…..!  I don’t have a drop of Polish in me but I grew up in a very Polish neighborhood (so I am a big fan – lol!) – this was truly something I can see I going to each year……I’m even considering volunteering this year 😉

An Awesome December Snowstorm! – Yes, until about two weeks ago, I totally forgot how much fun it can be to play in the snow.  The grand total for the snowfall here in Philly was 23.2 inches and – whoo-hoo! – it fell on a weekend 🙂  Brittany and I want out walking while it was still snowing and the next day – which was cold and beautiful – we went out wandering through the park and “sledding” on the edge of our coats.  I am snow’s new biggest fan 🙂

So despite 2009 being the longest, most draggiest year I can remember in a long time and me having plenty of reason (notice that’s singular ‘reason’!) to be cranky on a general basis….I had a lot of fun this year.  Road trips and projects keep me happy….now I have to work on my “want to list” for 2010 😉

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Make it 11…..

Yeah, I have to add this as on of my favorite pics from 2009….I love this one 🙂
Saint Dominic's

Ten Favorite Pics From 2009

A sampling of my favorite photos  – yes, that I took! – from 2009 🙂

Prayer for Priests

Last year, Brittany and I visited the Seminary when they had their open house. During our tour, I picked up a card with this prayer on it. I carried it in my jacket and every time I reached into my pocket and touched the card, I thought about my Pastor and all of our priests. The card finally became so worn that it ripped in half. After I taped it back together, I made copies of it so I can always carry one with me – lol 🙂

O Jesus, our great High Priest, hear my humble prayers on behalf of your priest, Fr.G. Give him a deep faith a bright and firm hope and a burning love which will ever increase in the course of his priestly life.

In his loneliness, comfort him. In his sorrows, strengthen him. In his frustrations, point out to him that it is through suffering that the soul is purified. And show him that he is needed by the Church, he is needed by souls, he is needed for the work of redemption.

O loving Mother Mary, Mother of Priests, take to your heart your son who is close to you because of his priestly ordination, and because of the power which he has received to carry on the work of Christ in a world which needs him so much.

Be his comfort, be his joy, be his strength, and especially help him to live and to defend the ideals of consecrated celibacy.

Amen.

July 2009 through June 2010 is the Year of the Priest – please pray for all priests and for more priests!

(Prayer re-posted from Clerical Whispers 🙂

Dashboard Jesuses and Rearview Rosaries

I don’t have an honest-ta-goodness Dashboard Jesus. I just don’t. Something about it that just seems off to me…visions of VW vans with big flowers painted on the sides and a cheap little plastic Jesus mounted on the dash with double-stick tape and a “Jesus is my co-pilot” sticker covering up a rusty spot on the rear bumper. Not cool, man.

I do have a Rosary and a Scapular hanging on my rear view mirror, though. I always have one of each with me at all times, but really, ya never know. And I have had Rosary emergencies. Mostly when praying over at the abortion mill….I have – more than once! – had occasion to loan my Rearview Rosary to someone. And each time I do, it feels more special when I put it back….like each time someone else uses it to pray, some of their prayers go with me 🙂

But yeah, this is as close as I get to a Dashboard Jesus. It’s a beautiful Divine Mercy statue that Fr.G. gave me a few months ago. I love it and I keep it on my desk at all times. It was one of the very last things I packed when we moved earlier this month and was back on my desk as soon as it was assembled….even before my computer was set up!

Nevermind “Dashboard Jesus” – this is my Desktop Divine Mercy!

Yeah, I think I need another long weekend……or six….

Genesis

Love this:

God said: “Let there be lights in the dome of the sky, to separate day from night. Let them mark the fixed times, the days and the years, and serve as luminaries in the dome of the sky, to shed light upon the earth.” And so it happened: God made the two great lights, the greater one to govern the day, and the lesser one to govern the night; and he made the stars. God set them in the dome of the sky, to shed light upon the earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. God saw how good it was. Evening came, and morning followed—the fourth day.”

Please, call me Joe!

We had a wonderful time tonight 🙂

Brittany, Bill and I met Fr.G. at a wonderful neighborhood seafood restaurant for dinner and caught up on everything and WOW did we have a good time! The food was great and it was so good to see Fr.G. again….or Father-Please-Call-Me-Joe*.

It’s one of those things that I’m just never sure how to deal with. Like one of my teachers from high school….whenever we e-mail each other, he always signs his first name…but even after all this time, he’s still Mr. Mister*. And truth be told, it’s not that I don’t want to address him by his first name, I just still….I dunno….really, because it’s been long enough and I’m certainly old enough to able to address other adults by their first names.

But anyway….yeah….as we were going into the restaurant, Fr.G. asked that we just call him “Joe*”. Now, knowing full well my lack of success when other people with titles ask me to address them by their given name – I sort of stuttered that I would need some time to adjust to that but now I’m worried that I’ll wind up doing as I do with others and just sort of….avoid addressing them directly. And it’s not like I call him “Fr.G.” every time I speak to him, he’s just “Father”.

Really, it makes sense, I suppose. I mean we are on more friendly than official terms now, though I still consider him to be my Pastor….my mentor, even 🙂 And if you’ve read my entries from the past few days, you know what a major role he’s played in my spiritual well being and that makes it even harder to contemplate to call him by his name……but between friends, I’d be uncomfortable if he were to address Bill and I formally and not in fun, ya know? I’m making too much of this. The first time I actually manage to call him “Joe*” without hyperventilating, I’ll wonder what I made all the fuss about.

Vianney!He gave us a bag of goodies for Christmas, too….among all the treats was an audio recording of Vianney, the show we had gone to see at his new Parish a few weeks ago. And each one of us – Bill, Brittany and myself – gave a collective “OOH!” when we saw that 🙂 It was a fantastic show but I wasn’t able to hear a good bit of it that night….no problems there, just my developing deafness…..so I am happy to be able to hear the whole story now. And Bill and Brittany just enjoyed it so much – yeah, surprised me, too! – that they want to hear it again!

He got a new car…my car! The 2010
LaCrosse that I’ve been drooling over since the fair in September and it is a beauty – midnight blue with spiffy blue accent lighting around all the trim inside and oh-so-comfy seats. And yeah, I blame him for me wanting the darn car to begin with cuz I loved the old LaCrosse he had and then he goes and gets this one!! Ah well….at least I got to ride in it 🙂 It doesn’t count as “envy”……I’m happy he has one – very happy – but I still want one of my own! It’s just….coveting :-p

After dinner, Bill drove Brittany home in my car and I rode with Joe* here to our new apartment. He came in and we visited for about an hour, he checked out all the tank critters and patiently watched as Brittany counted out how many Littlest Pets she has now and scratched Katrina on the head when she came out for five seconds to investigate what was going on. Then he blessed our new home and we said goodnight.

And now I’m going to bed. I’m processing a lot of things and my ears are humming…..at least I think they are……I can’t tell anymore.

Saint Thomas Becket once wrote: “We must strive to keep our eyes on him whom God appointed high priest forever, and to follow in his footsteps. For our sake he offered himself to the Father upon the altar of the cross. He now looks down from heaven on our actions and secret thoughts, and one day he will give each of us the reward his deeds deserve.”

Lord Jesus Christ, may we ever keep our eyes on you, the source of our life, and the summit of all truth.
Teach us how to save those who are lost, protect those who are in danger and defend all that is true.
For you are Lord, for ever and ever.
Amen.

*Names – like “Joe” and “Mister” – may have been changed in order to protect the innocent 🙂

holidailies

Face to Face

I am too excited to think about anything right now. I had a few ideas earlier of things that I wanted to write about tonight but every single one keeps getting pushed out of my mind with something like “Who cares?!? Dinner tomorrow!!!”

Yes, yes….we have dinner every day – ha-ha. But tomorrow, I have a dinner date with three of my most favoritest people in the world – Bill, Brittany….and Fr.G. 🙂 It actually hasn’t been that long since we last saw Father….only about 3 weeks. But it was the night of Vianney at his new Parish and there was a ton of activity – we did get to chat a bit, but it was definitely not what I would consider a real visit…..and before that….well, we hadn’t actually seen him since his Installation in July but we e-mail back and forth and have spoken on the phone several times. There’s just nothing like face to face with him.

Face to face…..

Not to continue on my whinging from yesterday…..but just to further illustrate the point I’m trying to make about the difference in demeanor. When I made my First Penance, I was horrified to find myself – at 7 years old – face to face with the cranky, old, miser of a Pastor we had at the Parish I grew up in. Now really, at 7 years old, telling anyone all of the bad things you’ve done is stressful enough….but actually having to sit there and look at that miserable old man while I told him that I didn’t always clean my room when my mom told me to was enough to ruin the sacrament for me for a very long time. And every time I had to have him hear my confession, I knew that he knew it was me on the other side of that screen and that the next time he’d see me he’d tut and shake his head because I was already too far gone to be saved. That’s just the way he was. And granted, I was in grade school so my perception may have been a little skewed but still……..I don’t ever remember voluntarily going to confession after that. And when I was forced to go – with my class or some other group – it was never face to face; I was always behind the screen.

But then one day, I found myself sitting across from Fr.G., in his office – at my request, no less! – for my first confession in a very, very long time. “Forgive me Father, it has been at least 15 years since my last confession….” And I confessed all the little things, and the few big things, and even why I hadn’t been to confession in 15 years. And I felt….great. Not at all that the next time I saw him, he’d be judging me on what I’d just sat and told him…..I honestly felt absolved. I felt lighter. And loved! And for the life of me, at that very moment, couldn’t understand why I had never seen the beauty of the sacrament.

What do I think the difference is in this particular instance? Because I was sitting face to face with someone I honestly believe to be a representative of Christ on Earth. Not a crotchety old man that can tell me what prayers can save my soul and definitely not the high school guidance counselor we have now. Really and truly the next best thing to Jesus Himself telling me my sins have been forgiven.

And that’s exactly as it should be.

The best part about it is, I can still call him up and shoot the breeze or sit across from him at the dinner table and talk about everything from “liturgical abuse” to health care reform and not be surprised he’s even speaking to me anymore after some of the things I’ve told him!

I’m looking forward to tomorrow.

I need a break from PC crap :-p

holidailies

Tradition

I wasn’t going to write about this.  Even now, I’m not sure where I want this to go but I have to say it.

I’m in a spiritual crisis.

When my Pastor left, I knew that there would have to be a period of adjustment but….I didn’t know it’d take this long.  I had hoped that our new Pastor would at least be comparable and on the same page as our Parochial Vicar and Deacon…..but he seems to be much more interested in community relations than the salvation of souls and that annoys the crap out of me.

Until this week, I had been at a point where I tolerated his lackadaisical homilies and the way everything he says seems to be a question….”We do this in the name of the Lord?”  Really?  Are you asking us, or telling us?  This might all seem a little petty, but the Christmas Mass this week was really just the icing on a layer cake that gets higher each week.  For real, imagination time has no place on the Altar during the Christmas Mass.

No, I am not even kidding.

He called all of the kids in the congregation up to the Altar and took them all on a magical journey where the Angel Gabriel flew everyone on a spaceship, back in time to Bethlehem to visit with the newborn Baby Jesus.  Brittany was spared being part of this….what I would consider Liturgical abuse….she was up in the choir loft.  I wished I had dropped her off at the Mass and waited to go to the later Mass, the one that surely would have been celebrated by our Parochial Vicar.  I wanted to be sick.

The adjustment has been….slow….and I’m not sure it’s coming.

My Pastor brought me back to the Church.  Well…I can’t really day that…I was never really gone, but I was lazy and – more often than not – was working on most weekends.  We changed parishes and when Brittany started going to school, I was….intrigued by the Pastor.  He inspired me. I stopped working so much and started going to Mass again…every week….and found myself hanging on every word.  And actually got involved in the Parish, volunteered my time and wanted to learn everything I never did….or at least didn’t remember if I did. All the while listening to people complain that he was “too spiritual” – seriously people??? He’s a priest – that’s what we want! It’s what we need!!! It was most definitely what I needed……

When I found out he was leaving, I felt lost.  I put on a happy face, making like he was lucky to have a change on the horizon, but inside…..I was really devastated….I held on to the hope that we would get someone similar, but knowing the way things are….I wasn’t hopeful.  And it seems I was right.  We wound up with a genial businessman with a white collar and a “can’t we all just get along” attitude.

At a Bible study this past year, we were reading the Book of Luke and I had to laugh when my Pastor pointed out that if Jesus had been more like Mr. Rogers, he never would have wound up nailed to a cross.  He wanted to inflame hearts and get people going and that is exactly what a Pastor should do…..and getting annoyed because a priest is a “stickler for the rules” or “too spiritual” is just childish.

I cry at almost every Mass.  If our Parochial Vicar is celebrating the Mass, I’m usually okay….but even if I go to a different Parish, I could wind up bawling because I have to go to a different Church in order to be able to focus on the Mass!  I miss my Pastor.  No secret there.  Fortunately, I can e-mail and call him whenever I need to, visit him at his new Parish if I so choose…..and am probably way too excited right now that we have a dinner date with him on Tuesday.

This doesn’t solve my problem though.  And I’m thinking of going to different service.  At a different Church. And I feel awful for even thinking it.  Part of the problem is…I love my Church.  I know every inch of it from the bowels to the belfry and probably more of its history than people that were born and bred in the Parish.  I’ve spent enough time in the rectory to consider it – until recently, anyway – a second home.  I still have obligations to the Church and the Parish, but…..I think I need to try attending a more traditional service on the weeks I don’t have to be at my Church.

At least until the “new” Missals come out.  With any luck, there will be a Liturgical refresher course to go along with it.

Please pray for me!

Lord Jesus, may everything I do begin with You,
continue with Your help,
and be done under Your guidance.
May my sharing in the Mass free me from my sins,
and make me worthy of Your healing.
May I grow in Your Love and Your service,
and become a pleasing offering to You;
and with You to Your Father.
May the mystery I celebrate help me
to reach eternal life with you.

Forget about me – I love you!

In honor of the Feast of the Holy Family today, I would like to share this from Priests for Life – Fr. Pavone rocks 😉

The family is the “Sanctuary of Life” and the basic cell of society. The Holy Family, of course, is unique. One member is God, another is sinless, and the third is a saint. But the great lesson of today is that although God could have come into the world in any way he pleased, he chose to become a member of a family, obedient to his earthly parents, and yet totally devoted to the Heavenly Father’s will, as we all must be.

He also shared the vulnerability that comes with being a member of a human family. “Herod is going to search for the child in order to destroy him.” St. Joseph here plays the unspeakable role of protecting God. His readiness to do so, in the person of his child, speaks to every father about the role of protector, and to our whole society about the need we have for good fathers. The culture of life depends just as much on fathers making the right choices as on mothers doing so.

Strong families are an integral aspect of the Culture of Life. Today’s preaching can focus on that fact. It is precisely the breakdown of family structure that increases the temptation to abort, or to resort to euthanasia or a lack of proper care for the elderly. On the other hand, the communion of persons that comes from giving oneself away to the other in selfless love is what creates the proper context for saying a generous “yes” to life. A helpful lesson to point out from the very word “family” is that it stands for “Forget About Me; I Love You.”