Saturday, November 22, 2008

Jean's Ten Money Saving Christmas Gift Ideas

Christmas Tag

My friend Jean has some really good tips on giving this Christmas. These tips will help you and your family focus more on the meaning of Christmas. They will keep you from getting all caught up in the frenzy of holiday madness. Instead, you will be embracing the stillness that the Advent season offers in preparation for the coming of the King.

Thank you Jean!

Ten Money Saving Christmas Gift Ideas

Excessive Abuses in the Use of EMHC

Just as I am rethinking my participation as an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, I read the following:

Excessive Abuses in the Use of Lay Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist in America

I have noticed that a good number of parishioners prefer to receive Holy Communion from the priest when they have a choice.

Fr. John Hardon on Catholic Homeschooling

Fr. John Hardon

Shared by Susan.

Christ Speaks to Us
I would like to address the subject of Catholic home schooling in the tradition of the Catholic Church, and my plan is to cover three areas of a large subject.

What has the Catholic Church considered as home schooling in the Church's history? Secondly, why is home schooling necessary? And thirdly, how should home schooling be done most effectively?

The focus I would like to take is of home schooling as authentically Catholic. I would like to begin first with a general definition of Catholic home schooling, and then distinguish various kinds of home schooling in the Church's history...

Our Lady

Loney People - In Him you will have Peace

"The true stories highlighted in this vignette confirm that this world is not as it should be. Jesus declared that we would encounter struggles and pain, but He also urged us to never despair for He has overcome this world. Music by Jars of Clay." produced by CatholicMediaHouse.
"Behold, the hour cometh, and it is now come, that you shall be scattered every man to his own, and shall leave me alone; and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me. These things I have spoken to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you shall have distress: but have confidence, I have overcome the world."-St. John 16

Friday, November 21, 2008

The History of Homeschooling

The video is a preview of a documentary coming out in 2009.

H/T to Maureen Wittmann

I must admit this preview did frighten me a bit. All the warnings I heard from a homeschooling pioneering friend of mine rushed to my memory. She warned us not to flaunt the fact that we were a homeschooling family. She warned us not to take state money offered to homeschoolers for books and computers. We started homeschooling in the mid to late 90's. I thought my friend was a bit overly-protective until I reminded myself exactly what she and other homeschooling families went through to pave the way for homeschooles like us.

In fact, I found Hawaii to be homeschooling friendly. Maybe I was a bit naive but I listened to my friend regardless of my feelings. I owe it all to homeschooling families like my friend's that made homeschooling relatively easy for my family to homeschool.

I am very glad I heeded her warnings. I hope the new homeschooling families will heed the warnings too.

"The Time for Complacency is Over"

The powerful weapon of choice in this spiritual battle must be the Holy Rosary!

St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle...

Thanks to Tito of American Catholic for sharing this with me. Please be sure to click the link and read their post A Call to Arms for God, Life and Country

The Infinite Value of the Holy Mass

The Holy Mass is the highest form of worship. It is the sacrifice of Calvary renewed. One Mass gives God more praise and thanksgiving and makes more atonement for sin and pleads more eloquently than does the combined eternal worship of all the souls in heaven, on earth and in purgatory. In the Holy Mass, it is Jesus Christ, God, as well as Man, who is our Intercessor, our Priest and our Victim. Being God as well as Man His prayers, merits and His offerings are infinite in value.

The Mass is the best means we have:

1. To render God the highest form of worship

2. To thank Him for all His blessings

3. To obtain reparation for all our sins.

4. To obtain all the blessings we desire.

5. To release souls from purgatory and shorten our own time there.

6. To preserve us from all dangers to soul and body

7. To be consoled at the hour of death, for at that moment their memory will be our greatest consolation

8. To intercede for us at the Judgment Seat of God

9. To bring down God's blessings; therefore try to assist at Mass every day, or as often as possible

10. To better understand the sublimity of the Passion of Christ, and therefore, to increase our love for Him

Source here

Thanks to Sue

Memorial of the Presentation of Mary

Presentation of Mary

The memorial of the Presentation of Mary is celebrated on November 21. This feast corresponds to the feast of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple. This feast refers to Our Lady's presentation at the temple in Jerusalem as a small child. When she was only three years old, the Blessed Virgin Mary was taken to the Temple in Jerusalem by her parents, St. Joachim and St. Anne. There she was taught, lived with other little girls and was cared for by pious women.

Sacred Scripture contains no text concerning this event. However, we do have the testimonies of tradition which are based on accounts which come to us from apostolic times. That which is known about the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Temple is found in the Apocrypha, principally in chapter seven of the Protoevangelium of James, which has been dated by historians prior to the year 200 AD.

On this feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary let us ask Our Lady to help us to consecrate ourselves entirely to God.

Childhood of Mary
"Hail, holy throne of God, divine sanctuary, house of glory, jewel most fair, chosen treasure house, and mercy seat for the whole world, heaven showing forth the glory of God. Purest Virgin, worthy of all praise, sanctuary dedicated to God and raised above all human condition, virgin soil, unplowed field, flourishing vine, fountain pouring out waters, virgin bearing a child, mother without knowing man, hidden treasure of innocence, ornament of sanctity, by your most acceptable prayers, strong with the authority.

-St. Germanus, homily on the Presentation of the Mother of God

Thanks to the St. Michael Center for the Blessed Virgin Mary

Fine Art Friday - Tribute to Peggy Chun

Peggy Chun

...She died Wednesday night, surrounded by family, succumbing after six years to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, the disease that had progressively robbed her of mobility, communication and the ability to breathe on her own.

Throughout those six years she was a signpost for a good life — a life of generosity, humor, zest, resilience, sensitivity, passion, insight, deep inner strength and sense of adventure.

Chun has left Hawai'i a legacy of her artwork — she was known for her watercolors of Island life, her whimsical paintings and loving portraits of Mother Marianne Cope and Father Damien. But perhaps even more importantly, she has left a legacy of how to smile at and with life in all its ups and downs, and how to fully embrace the preciousness of our time on Earth, whatever challenges it holds for us...
The Honolulu Advertiser

Eternal rest grant unto Peggy O Lord, and may Your perpetual light shine upon her. May she rest in peace.

Mother Marianne Cope Chun
Mother Marianne Cope
This is our family's favorite Peggy Chun painting...
well this one and Boo next to a surfboard

Sweet Lokelani
Sweet Lokelani

Paddling to Church
Paddling to Church

Boo in a Bowl
Boo in a Bowl
This is first painting Ms. Chun ever painted of her beloved cat Boo

Picture source Peggy Chun

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Cardinal Newman Society touring universities with Eucharistic Miracles Exhibit

Holy Eucharist

The Cardinal Newman Society has launched a tour of the Vatican’s Eucharistic Miracles Exhibit which includes a stop at the University of Notre Dame and the University of Minnesota at Morris, the academic home of a biology professor who displayed his desecration of a Host on his web site.

According to a letter from Father Benedict Groeschel published in the Cardinal Newman Society newsletter, the exhibition at the University of Minnesota at Morris (UMM) was accompanied by an evening of Eucharistic Adoration, Bible study, a Communion service, and Sunday Mass...

Sainthood probe starts for Fr. Patrick Peyton!

Fr. Patrick Peyton
H/T to The Deacon's Bench

...Now, the man known as the "Rosary Priest" for his penchant to use rosary beads to say Roman Catholic prayers for even activities like riding in a car, Peyton is being considered for sainthood. The Archdiocese of Baltimore will celebrate a Mass on Thursday to mark the start of the investigating process...

This is terrific news! Vice-postulator Fr. David Mercham sent me prayer cards to distribute in Hawaii. Thankfully, I kept one for myself. I have been praying to Fr. Peyton for two specific intentions relating to my son. I will let you know when God answers my prayers.

Margaret Sanger - Planned Parenthood's Racist Founder

From American Life League
Dear Friends of Life,
It's been a little over a month since I last sent out an ALL Report, but that's because we spent that time puting together a very special and very important video report on Margaret Sanger and her racist ideologies which drove her eugenic agenda. This report is more like a mini-documentary, exposing Sanger's call to clear out "human weeds" by use of birth control, and I do hope that of all the ALL Reports you have helped promote, you give this one your most attention!

You can watch the report on YouTube at: YouTube and you can watching it on (higher quality) at Blip TV.

As always, thank you so much you do for the babies!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

12 Reasons for Wanting to Spend One Hour With Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament

Eucharistic Adoration

Twelve Reasons From the Teachings of the Church for Wanting to Spend One Hour with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament

1. You are greatly needed!
"The Church and the world have a great need of Eucharistic Adoration." (Pope John Paul II, Dominicae Cenae

2. This is a personal invitation to you from Jesus.
"Jesus waits for us in this Sacrament of Love." (Pope John Paul II, Dominicae Canae)

3. Jesus is counting on you because the Eucharist is the center of life.
"Every member of the Church must be vigilant in seeing that the sacrament of Love shall be at the center of the life of the people of God so that through all the manifestations of worship due Him shall be given back 'love for love' and truly become the life of our souls." (Pope John Paul II, Redemptor Hominis - Redeemer of Man)

4. Your hour with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament will repair for evils of the world and bring about peace on earth.
"Let us be generous with our time in going to meet Jesus and ready to make reparation for the great evils of the world. Let your adoration never cease." (Pope John Paul II Dominicae Cenae)

5. Day and night Jesus dwells in the Blessed Sacrament because you are the most important person in the world to Him!
"Christ is reserved in our churches as the spiritual center of the heart of the community, the universal Church and all humanity, since within the veil of the species, Christ is contained, the invisible Heart of the Church, the Redeemer of the world, the center of all hearts, by Him and things are and of whom we exist." (Pope Paul IV, Mysterium Fidei)

6. Jesus wants you to do more than to go to Mass on Sunday.
"Our communal worship at Mass must go together with our personal worship of Jesus in Eucharistic adoration in order that our love may be complete." (Pope John Paul II, Redeemer of Man)

7. You grow spiritually with each moment you spend with Jesus!
"Our essential commitment in life is to preserve and advance constantly in Eucharistic life and Eucharistic piety and to grow spiritually in the climate of the Holy Eucharist." (Pope John Paul II, Redeemer of Man)

8. The best time you spend on earth is with Jesus, your Best Friend, in the Blessed Sacrament!
"How great is the value of conversation with Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, for there is nothing more consoling on earth, nothing more efficacious for advancing along the road of holiness!" (Pope Paul VI, Mysterium Fidei)

9. Just as you can't be exposed to the sun without receiving its rays, neither can you come to Jesus exposed in the Blessed Sacrament without receiving the Divine Rays of His Grace, His Love, His Peace.
"Christ is truly the Emmanuel, that is God with us, day and night, His is our midst. He dwells with us full of grace and truth. He restores morality, nourishes virtue, consoles the afflicted, strengthens the weak." (Pope Paul VI, Mysterium Fidei)

10. If Jesus were actually visible in church, everyone would run to welcome Him, but He remains hidden in the Sacred Host under the appearance of Bread, because He is calling us to faith, that we may come to Him in humility.
"The Blessed Sacrament is the 'Living Heart' of each of our churches and it is our very sweet duty to honor and adore the Blessed Host, which our eyes see, the Incarnate Word, Whom they cannot see." (Pope Paul VI, Credo of the People of God)

11. With transforming mercy, Jesus makes our heart one with His.
"Hie proposes His own example to those who come to Him, that all may learn to be like Himself, gentle and humble of heart, and to seek not their own interest but those of God." (Pope Paul VI, Mysterium Fidei)

12. If the Pope himself would give you a special invitation to visit him in the Vatican, this honor would be nothing in comparison to the honor and dignity that Jesus Himself bestows upon you with the invitation of spending one hour with him in the Blessed Sacrament.
"The Divine Eucharist bestows upon the Christian people the incomparable dignity." (Pope Paul Vi, Mysterium Fidei)

From the Complete Handbook for Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration History of Eucharistic Adoration.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A Message From Purgatory

I found this on Ed's blog
Holy souls in Purgatory, is there anything you regret when you think of your life on earth?:

I deeply regret wasted time.... I did not consider it so precious, so fleeting, so irretrievable. For this reason my life is worth only half of what it might have been. Oh, had I but realized it then! Would that I could return to earth, how differently I would use the time given to me! Precious time! . . .
You can read the rest at Ed's blog.

I Would Donate Money if Our Parish Would Get One

Churches installing cell phone jammers

The Bible, Through the Eyes of a Child

Holy Bible
Thanks to Irena for sharing.
In the beginning, which occurred near the start, there was nothing but God, darkness, and some gas. The Bible says, 'The Lord thy God is one, but I think He must be a lot older than that.

Anyway, God said, 'Give me a light!' and someone did.
Then God made the world.

He split the Adam and made Eve. Adam and Eve were naked, but they weren't embarrassed because mirrors hadn't been invented yet.

Adam and Eve disobeyed God by eating one bad apple, so they were driven from the Garden of Eden.
Not sure what they were driven in though, because they didn't have cars.

Adam and Eve had a son, Cain, who hated his brother as long as he was Abel.

Pretty soon all of the early people died off, except for Methuselah, who lived to be like a million or something.

One of the next important people was Noah, who was a good guy,but one of his kids was kind of a Ham. Noah built a large boat and put his family and some animals on it. He asked some other people to join him, but they said they would have to take a rain check.

After Noah came Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Jacob was more famous than his brother, Esau, because Esau sold Jacob his birthmark in exchange for some pot roast. Jacob had a son named Joseph who wore a really loud sports coat.

Another important Bible guy is Moses, whose real name was Charlton Heston. Moses led the Israel Lights out of Egypt and away from the evil Pharaoh after God sent ten plagues on Pharaoh's people. These plagues included frogs, mice, lice, bowels, and no cable.

God fed the Israel lights every day with manicotti. Then he gave them His Top Ten Commandments.
These include: don't lie, cheat, smoke, dance, or covet your neighbor's' stuff.

Oh, yeah, I just thought of one more:
Humor thy father and thy mother.

One of Moses' best helpers was Joshua who was the first Bible guy to use spies. Joshua fought the battle of Geritol and the fence fell over on the town.

After Joshua came David. He got to be king by killing a giant with a slingshot. He had a son named Solomon who had about 300 wives and 500 porcupines. My teacher says he was wise, but that doesn't sound very wise to me.

After Solomon there were a bunch of major league prophets.
One of these was Jonah, who was swallowed by a big whale and then barfed up on the shore. There were also some minor league Prophets, but I guess we don't have to worry about them.

After the Old Testament came the New Testament. Jesus is the star of The New. He was born in Bethlehem in a barn.

(I wish I had been born in a barn too, because my mom is always saying
To me, 'Close the door! Were you born in a barn?' It would Be nice to say, 'As a matter of fact, I was.')

During His life, Jesus had many arguments with sinners like The Pharisees and the Democrats.

Jesus also had twelve opossums.
The worst one was Judas Asparagus. Judas was so evil that they named a terrible vegetable after him.

Jesus was a great man. He healed many leopards and even preached to some Germans on the Mount.

But the Democrats and all those guys put Jesus on trial before Pontius the Pilot. Pilot didn't stick up for Jesus. He just washed his hands instead.

Anyways, Jesus died for our sins, then came back to life again.
He went up to Heaven but will be back at the end of the aluminum. His return is foretold in the book of Revolution.

Monday, November 17, 2008

11 Tips For Keeping Yourself Sane...

...when your parish is not what it's cracked up to be, liturgically speaking. My parish is a good parish. I just thought I'd share it in case someone could use the help.

I couldn't resist this list...actually, I can't resist any list.

I think I have my friend Tracy to thank for introducing me to this blog. Thanks Tracy!
(1) Don't stop and kick every barking dog. Don't fill up your pastor's email inbox with excessive complaints about liturgical abuses or catechetical errors. Chances are he knows about them and either doesn't care or is too feckless to do anything about it.

(2) Get sanity checks. Just because you don't belong to a healthy parish doesn't mean you can't visit one. Make it a monthly habit to go Mass at a such a place.

(3) Remember you are a member of the universal Church. Follow the Church's liturgical calendar and take advantage of the wealth of resources available on the Internet, e.g., homilies, commentaries, saints of the day.

(4) Kick the big dog. If you want to reform your parish, focus on a big problem and recruit fellow parishioners to change it. Do not hesitate to involve your bishop or Rome if you have exhausted local options.

(5) Form apostolates. Ask your pastor if a Bible study or catechism group can meet at the parish center, or, if that is not an option, meet at parishioner homes.

(6) Pray for your parish. It all starts -- but doesn't end -- with prayer.

(7) Lead your domestic church. You are the primary educators of your children. Make it a practice to read the lives of the saints, review a weekly chapter from a solid catechism, and gather for some form of evening prayer. Responsibility for your personal formation is part of this too.

(8) Don't scowl too much. This is somewhat related to tip (2), and one that strikes a personal chord, especially as a father. A cheery witness is a good witness; a grumpy one isn't.

(9) Be a Vatican II Catholic. The primary message to the laity of the Council was to engage and sanctify the world. It is outward directed. So becoming an active Catholic doesn't necessarily mean joining parish commissions, serving as an extraordinary minister, or joining the PTO. There are plenty of Catholic apostolates and organizations that need your help.

(10) Be hopeful. By hopeful, I do not mean "optimistic," a natural disposition or outlook. Hope is theological -- close to God. Put it all in His hands. Do not engage in the sort of conspiracy theories that predictably and lamentably circulate in troubled dioceses. The problems out in the open are probably bad enough.

(11) Seek fellowship. A fellow parishioner is organizing an Advent Bible study for couples. Many of the participants in my Monday morning catechism group have become dear friends. Strengthen the bond with your fellow Catholics by celebrating your faith with them.
Thanks to the Ten Reasons Blog

Religious Persecution on the Rise

Pray for the Persecuted ChurchPicture source here

Please read Padre Steve's post here

Also read the following Zenit articles:

Catholic Siblings Murdered in Mosul

Church Leaders Plea for Indian People

Two Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya

Sunday, November 16, 2008

St. Faustina's Vision of Purgatory

St. Faustina
...I saw my Guardian Angel, who ordered me to follow him. In a moment I was in a misty place full of fire in which there was a great crowd of suffering souls. They were praying fervently, but to no avail, for themselves; only we can come to their aid. The flames, which were burning them, did not touch me at all. My Guardian Angel did not leave me for an instant. I asked these souls what their greatest suffering was. They answered me in one voice that their greatest torment was longing for God. I saw Our Lady visiting the souls in Purgatory. The souls call Her “The Star of the Sea”. She brings them refreshment. I wanted to talk with them some more, but my Guardian Angel beckoned me to leave. We went out of that prison of suffering. [I heard an interior voice which said] ‘My mercy does not want this, but justice demands it. Since that time, I am in closer communion with the suffering souls.’” (Diary, 20)

You can read the entire post at Poetry, Prayer and Praise - St. Fautina's Vision of Purgatory

Our Priests

At the Marian Conference yesterday we were all reminded of our lady's message to us about our priests:

It is our duty to look after our priests, to pray for our priests; to love our priests and to sacrifice and do penance for our priests.

As a spiritual mom I this reminder by our Lady very seriously. My spiritual son is constantly in my thoughts and prayers. I do have to work on offering penances for him though...

I was also struck by what I heard at the Marian Conference yesterday by one of the speakers:

"There is no such thing as a bad priest...only bad parishioners who have not fasted or prayed for our priests". In other words, we will be held responsible by God if we fail to pray and offer sacrifices for His priests.

Fr. Mark of Vultus Christi is currently translating a excerpts of a book entitled A Spiritual Treasure for the Priesthood. You can read a part of it here
All for Priests

A woman called to spiritual maternity in favour of priests keeps nothing for herself. All that she has received from Christ -- all that she has acquired by His grace in the way of victories over sin, virtues, and merits; all her prayers, her penances; and, above all, her confident surrender to Divine Providence in the little things of daily life -- all of these things belong no longer to her, but rather to the souls of priests.

A Kind of Dispensary

The spiritual mother of priests becomes a kind of dispensary wherein Christ places whatever remedies His priests may need in their spiritual infirmities and weaknesses. She offers her heart, in imitation of the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, Mediatrix of All Graces, to Our Lord, saying, "Use me, O Lord, as Thou wilt for the healing and sanctification of Thy priests. Unite the offering of myself to Thine own Offering on the Altar of the Cross and, then, let the all the fruits of our union be dispensed to Thy priests, especially to the weakest and most wounded among them."

The Angelic Voice of Angelina

"Stop wasting time and wake up to your individual faith and live each day to its fullest. Don't let anyone or anything stop you from fulfilling God's plan for you. God gives the greatest gift of all to us: life; so live your life as a gift to God." - Angelina's message to people.

I was recently privileged to have Maria, the mother of singer Angelina, contact me about her daughter. I have to admit I hadn't heard of this young singer before her dear mom emailed me. What I saw and heard made me wish I had.

Angelina is a young Catholic singer yet she has quite an impressive resume and career. She sings with the voice of what you would expect to hear in a heavenly choir. The first time I heard her voice was when I visited her website Angelina Sings. Her voice struck me in it's beauty which is beyond doubt a gift from God to Angelina and to us, the listeners.

She started singing at the young age of 9. She has appeared on EWTN's Life on the Rock, Catholic Familyland's Christmas concert, etc.. One of the highlights of her life has been to be asked to sing at the Vatican's Blessing of an outdoor nativity at Christmas time when she was only 15 years old. There she sang "Do You Hear What I Hear". It was also at this time she and her family were privileged to attend Midnight Mass where our Holy Father Pope John Paul II was the celebrant.

To learn more about Angelina's life, be sure to read her bio at her website.

Another striking thing I learned about Angelina, is that she is also a very generous person. She has donating a lot of money to various Catholic organizations.

How proud her parents and family must be of this young woman!

Here are two of my favorite songs by Angelina.

I Can Only Imagine

Hail Mary, Gentle Woman

As you may have noticed, I rarely advertise anyone's products here unless I personally feel strongly about them. In this case, I believe I would be doing everyone a disservice by not sharing about this singer with others.

One of the CD's I highly recommend is Angelina Songs of the Faithful. One of the songs in this collection is "I Can Only Imagine". The others are:

Prayer of St. Francis
Blessed Teresa of Calcutta
St. Joseph (Husband of Mary)
Love Song
Fountain of Mercy (St. Faustina)
Touched by Your Love (Tribute to Padre Pio)
The Deer's Cry (Breastplate of St. Patrick)
We Are Many Parts

Her CD's will make wonderful Christmas gifts or stocking stuffers.

The Littlest GargoyleIf you are looking for a gift for your children, I highly recommend The Littlest Gargoyle by T.S. Hays, Illustrated by Elizabeth Huffmaster with narration and music by Angelina.

This is the story of Dedo, the littlest gargoyle who sits high atop the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris and shares the story of his creator, Sister Marie Therese. I believe I will review this charming book at a later time.

The CDs and the book are all available at Angelina's website.

Thank you Angelina for sharing your gift with us!