Concerning My NOT-So-Very Holy Family

December 27, 2009

Our Holy Mother Church is so so so very wise.

We all know this.

But the celebration of today’s Feast of the Holy Family could not be better timed.

Wrung out physically and emotionally from the past two days of merry-making and happy-face-making, I made my way to mass feeling very UN-like the Holy Family. I was not looking forward to the inevitable exhortation of “we must look to the Holy Family as an example for our families today” hogwash as I discipline my 5 year old daughter for the umpteenth time and remove my 12 year old son’s fingers from his ears… my eyebrows raised at the 9 year old to leave her locket be, and folding my hands properly while trying to catch  the 10 year old’s eye as he serves at the altar. (erm… my husband always has the rambunctious 7 year old all to himself.)

:)

No. I thought. I just cannot do this today. We are so very much unlike the Holy Family, and it’s probably all my fault since I was not born sinless! (I am very rational when I’m annoyed… can you tell?)

So, what to do?

Enter the readings.

From Sirach:

God sets a father in honor over his children;
a mother’s authority he confirms over her sons.

I needed this confirmation today like no other. Not an “in your face, kiddos” kind of way, but just a very real and very comforting and firm encouragement that we have the backing of the Almighty in our day to day struggle.

From Colossians:

Brothers and sisters:
Put on, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved,
heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience,
bearing with one another and forgiving one another,

And let the peace of Christ control your hearts,
the peace into which you were also called in one body.

And be thankful.

Yes…. and be thankful.

Thank you, Lord, for my beautiful family. For my children, who are so unique and somewhat tiresome. Thank you for the daily struggle… since by this alone will come my redemption. Thank you for my strong husband. Ever supportive, ever understanding. My earthly rock to which I cling.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly,
as in all wisdom you teach and admonish one another,
singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs
with gratitude in your hearts to God.
And whatever you do, in word or in deed,
do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Yes… I need to ask more. To beg Him to show me. To pray before teaching and correcting… and above all, to be a better example. Lord, what a mighty work still needs to be done in me.

The pictures painted in the readings today are ones of hope, not a misplaced ideal of something we will not be able to attain. There is a path here, clearly labeled. And it is not a foreign one.

And yet, in the wake of the hustle and bustle of the season… how apropos. Somehow, She knew. Our Mother knew that we earthly mothers would be strung out and left high and dry. Our nerves and patience would be shot. We would view our children with a wearied eye.

Akin to a gentle kiss on the forehead and a firm pat on the back, The Church sends us out once again. Ready to take up our tasks with a renewed vigor.

Heartened and grateful.

Megan is an independent contributor to MetroCatholic publications. She publishes the blog Life in a Nutshell under the Pseudonym “Nutmeg”.  She describes herself as a Catholic Mama who can be found most days with her hair in a bandana, bare feet on the floor, teaching her 5 little peanuts.

DFWCatholic.org to suspend posts until the new year

December 22, 2009

bethlehem starIn order to prepare ourselves in mind, body, and spirit for the coming of our Lord, the staff at DFWCatholic.org will be suspending our postings until the new year.  We would like to thank all of our readers for their patronage and wish all of you and your families a merry Christmas and blessed new year.

Chad Simpson

CEO

MetroCatholic, Inc.

Venerable John Paul II’s life gives answers to society’s problems, Supreme Knight says

December 22, 2009

pope jpii statueCNA STAFF, Dec 21, 2009 / 03:21 pm (CNA).- Following the declaration by Pope Benedict XVI that his predecessor John Paul II lived a life of “heroic virtue,” CNA spoke with Carl Anderson, the head of the  Knights of Columbus, who is very familiar with the late Pope. According to Anderson, John Paul II’s life speaks directly to the problems society confronts today.

Reflecting on the timing of the declaration that the late Pontiff is Venerable, Anderson told CNA, “I think the timing of this declaration should remind us all that suffering is a necessary component of life - something with value that cannot be avoided and shouldn’t be feared - especially not to the point of destroying life to eliminate suffering.”

If John Paul II was still alive, he would tell the faithful “to continue the new evangelization of our culture here, by working to create a just society in which the dignity of every human was respected,” the Supreme Knight said.

Asked how he thought Catholics today could work to build the civilization of love called for by John Paul II, Anderson said that they should imitate the late Pope’s example of bringing the view point of faith to every issue.

The full interview with Carl Anderson can be read below.

CNA: Could you please explain what this declaration means for those unfamiliar with the process? How long do you think it will be before he is declared a saint?

Anderson: The declaration of venerable means that the Church has found that John Paul lived a life of “heroic virtue.” It is an important step forward in his cause for sainthood. The next step would be - after further investigation by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints - would be for him to be declared blessed, which would require among many other things certification of a miracle, then after additional investigation and another certified miracle, he could be declared a saint. I don’t think anyone can really predict how quickly this will happen. It’s a process, a careful process, that takes time, but certainly things have been moving forward as quickly as is prudent.

CNA: Given the cultural and moral climate of the world, what do you think this says about God’s timing for the declaration?

Anderson: I think it’s really interesting timing because as the world continues to struggle with issues of suffering, and the dignity of life, John Paul is a reminder to us of a man who championed the dignity of the human person - from conception to natural death and at every moment in between. And in both his life and death he was an unmistakable witness to the Gospel. For one thing, he showed that suffering had meaning by living with it with such joy for decades. He lived a life in the most difficult political and family circumstances imaginable. He saw suffering in World War II, in the death of his mother, father and brother, and in his work -even from a young age - with the sick. I think the timing of this declaration should remind us all that suffering is a necessary component of life - something with value that cannot be avoided and shouldn’t be feared - especially not to the point of destroying life to eliminate suffering.
CNA: How did John Paul II’s papacy impact the United States and the Church here? What message do you think John Paul II would give to the Church in the U.S. if he were alive today?

Anderson: Even before he was Pope, John Paul II had visited the United States in the 1970s, and had a great understanding of this country. He saw this country before it saw him, and I think that was a very providential thing. In addition, John Paul’s several visits to the United States and his call for a new evangelization were important to the United States and more broadly to the “American hemisphere.” He considered America a great hope for the Church precisely because it is in this hemisphere that we have “a continent of baptized Christians.” It is here - in this hemisphere - that the majority of people in most countries are Catholic, and even in those countries where Catholics are not the majority, like in the United States, they make up a significant minority. But even more important, the Church has remained vibrant here in this hemisphere, while the same cannot be said of Europe. I think John Paul would want us to continue the new evangelization of our culture here, by working to create a just society in which the dignity of every human was respected.
CNA: What was it like to be in John Paul’s presence? Was he as jubilant and joyful as he appeared in front of crowds? How did you feel in his presence?

Anderson: When you were with John Paul, you definitely had the sense that you were in the presence of Christ’s vicar on earth. For me, and for many others, his holiness was unmistakable, but so was his humanity, his sense of humor, his keen intellect. He was an incredible figure, intellectually, religiously, and personally, and it didn’t take much time with him to see that.
CNA: Where do you think John Paul II drew his great hope for society from, despite the history of his own life and the past century?
Anderson: The Catholic Church - as Pope Benedict has pointed out - is based on the hope of constant and continual improvement because our ultimate hope is in God and our union with him in heaven. So we are, and John Paul was par excellence, people of hope. But his hope was also practical. He didn’t just hope, he preached that hope and gave humanity a road map to a brighter future through a more just society in which every human person would be respected as a subject not an object based on their inherent human dignity as children of God.

In the end, John Paul had seen the worst of society, Naziism, Communism, etc., but he also understood that there was one thing that survived even in the midst of that oppression: love. Love, in John Paul’s mind, was the force that could reshape the world.

CNA: How important is John Paul II’s theology of the body for the Church and society?

Anderson: John Paul’s theology of the body is very important because it shows the inherent value of marriage and the family as the fundamental building blocks of society. It also gives lay people a theology that is readily adapted and crafted for their own lives. Part of John Paul’s brilliant legacy was his involvement of the laity, his empowerment of the laity, his encouragement of the laity to take action in, and evangelize in, the public square - in the sphere that was naturally theirs.

So in an era when marriage and family are under attack from a variety of forces, John Paul’s explanation of the importance of both, through his theology of the body, is a great service to those trying to understand what the Church teaches and why. Our bodies, our marriages and our families are not merely for this sphere. They have an eschatological significance that John Paul helps us to properly understand.

With the theology of the body, married couples are empowered to take up their marriages theologically, to see God in the equation and to see the importance of giving to each a very great gift: the total gift of themselves.
CNA: How do you think John Paul II advises building a civilization of love? What should the average Catholic be doing to pursue this?

Anderson: I think many people - especially non-Catholics - tend to see John Paul’s legacy as his role in the reshaping of Europe and the fall of Communism. But there is an important lesson there. John Paul was able to help facilitate such an important event precisely because he came to every political problem from the point of view of his faith. His faith was not something he thought should just be lived at home. No, his faith was what informed his every statement, his beliefs in what constituted a just society, his articulation of that belief. He took seriously the precepts of the faith including: “preach to all nations.” And then, he led by the example of his own life.

We are called to do the same. To lead by example and bring our Catholic beliefs to bear on the problems we face in public or in private. Like John Paul we must be Catholics in all seasons.

Sen. Nelson accepts Reid abortion provisions in exchange for medicaid kickbacks

December 21, 2009

dark dollarWashington D.C., Dec 19, 2009 / 04:54 pm (CNA).- This afternoon Senator Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) announced that he will now vote for cloture on the Senate health care bill and for the bill itself. The move is causing the pro-life community to say that he caved in to pressure from within his party.

Announcing his decision in a press conference on Saturday afternoon, Sen. Nelson remarked, “Change is never easy … but change is what is needed in America today.  And that is why I intend to vote for cloture… and vote for health care reform.”

The Nebraska senator also remarked on the issue of abortion, which has been a major point of contention during his negotiations.

“As you know,” the senator said at his press conference, “I have strongly held views on the subject and I have fought hard to prevent tax dollars from being used to subsidize abortions.  I believe we have accomplished that goal.  I have also fought hard to protect the right of states to regulate the kind of insurance that is offered, and to provide health insurance options in every state that do not provide coverage for abortion.

“I know these limits on abortion are hard for some people to accept, and I respect those who disagree, but I would not have voted for this bill without them.” Senator Nelson stated.

But the new manager’s amendment introduced by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Saturday morning was found to be seriously wanting by the pro-life community.

The National Right to Life Committee’s legislative director Douglas Johnson described the Reid Amendment as “light years removed from the Stupak-Pitts Amendment that was approved by the House of Representatives on November 8 by a bipartisan vote of 240-194.

“The new abortion language solves none of the fundamental abortion-related problems with the Senate bill, and it actually creates some new abortion-related problems,” Johnson asserted.

Among the problems cited by Johnson are that the amendment allows the federal government to “subsidize private insurance plans that cover abortion on demand, to oversee multi-state plans that cover elective abortions, and to empower federal officials to mandate that private health plans cover abortions even if they do not accept subsidized enrollees.”

Pro-life organizations were particularly upset that Sen. Nelson appeared to have faltered in his vigilance against “accounting schemes” aimed at funding abortion with taxpayer money.

Concerned Women for America president Wendy Wright said, “Senator Ben Nelson appears to have overlooked some realities. The option for states to opt out of abortion coverage is illusory. The federal government will be subsidizing elective abortions, a federal agency will be managing abortion coverage, and individuals (even those in Nebraska) will be paying for abortions through an accounting scheme.”

Wright also pointed out that under current federal law and programs, “federal funds may not be used for any part of a plan that covers elective abortions. The human right not to be forced to be an accomplice to an evil act, in this case the deliberate murder of innocent babies, is a basic decency that the government should not force individuals or entities to violate.”
Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser faulted the Reid Amendment for changing the status quo, in which no citizen is forced to pay for abortions.

“If this bill passes,” Dannenfelser warned, “for the first time, federally funded and managed health care plans will cover elective abortions. Pro-life Americans in Nebraska and other states that choose to ‘opt-out’ of abortion coverage will still be forced to foot the bill for abortions in California and New York.

“This is not ‘compromise’ or ‘middle ground’ - it is a betrayal of conscience for millions of Americans. And it is a betrayal of Senator Nelson’s own principles. Abortion is never good for women or their unborn children,” said the SBA List president.

Abortion clinic escort strikes Planned Parenthood investigator Lila Rose

December 21, 2009

Lila RoseSan Jose, Calif., Dec 19, 2009 / 03:37 am (CNA).- Legal charges are pending against a male Planned Parenthood escort who struck pro-life activist Lila Rose on the hands on Thursday outside an abortion clinic. She warned that the surprising attack should not help create a “double standard” that hinders clinic protesters’ free speech rights.

Rose, the president of Live Action Films who has led undercover investigations into the abortion provider, was not injured in the attack.

She was on a public sidewalk outside a Planned Parenthood affiliate in San Jose, California with a group of about 20 students and three adults to pray and provide information to women who might be open to alternatives to abortion, a statement from Live Action says.

Shortly before noon on Thursday, she interacted with a uniformed male Planned Parenthood escort.

According to Rose, she spoke to the escort from the public sidewalk and asked him if he was familiar with the abortion procedure.

The escort then approached her rapidly from the Planned Parenthood parking lot and said, “You idiot. You’ve caused so much trouble. You piece of crap.”

Rose asked if she could show him a picture of what abortion “really does to a baby.” The escort then struck Rose on the hand, knocking literature and a Bible to the ground.

According to Live Action Films, the police report said Rose stepped further back on the sidewalk and the escort stepped toward her.

He was visibly shaking and said “It’s a woman’s choice!”

To this, Rose responded “What about the baby’s choice?”

The escort said “It’s not a baby!” and turned and walked away.

Police were called and interviewed Rose and several witnesses. She suffered no injuries in the attack, but charges of assault and battery are pending.

In a Friday e-mail Rose told CNA that she was “very surprised” at what happened. She said the escort appeared to recognize her, which has not happened before at a clinic.

“Unborn children face much, much worse…they are violently denied their very lives, and they are totally defenseless,” she added.

Rose emphasized that pro-lifers have the right to free speech on public sidewalks.

“If this right is infringed upon by threatening physical contact, the law must intervene and the guilty party must accept the consequences.”

Saying that pro-life sidewalk counselors are subjected to “the most rigorous scrutiny,” she warned that a double standard could be created if threatening physical contact against sidewalk counselors is allowed.

Rose also reported “good news”: a woman who thought she was pregnant and was considering abortion turned around. One of the parents and their daughter at the clinic then drove the woman and her friend to a crisis pregnancy center.

She told CNA that her organization has not heard anything from Planned Parenthood.

Live Action in a statement said it maintains a “strong commitment to non-violent public discourse.”

“We expect Planned Parenthood will respond to their escort’s attack by publicly disavowing the use of violence,” the statement said.

Judge upholds ruling against photographers who declined work at homosexual ceremony

December 18, 2009

you shall love the lord your godAlbuquerque, N.M., Dec 18, 2009 / 04:12 am (CNA).- Attorneys for a small photography company charged with violating anti-discrimination laws for declining to photograph a same-sex “commitment ceremony” are planning to appeal a New Mexico judge’s decision to uphold the New Mexico Civil Rights Commission’s ruling against them.

The Albuquerque company, Elane Photography, is co-owned by Elaine Huguenin and her husband Jon. They are being represented by attorneys from the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF).

In 2006 a woman named Vanessa Willock asked them to photograph a “commitment ceremony” that she and another woman wanted to hold in Taos, N.M. State law does not recognize homosexual unions.

Elaine Hugenin declined because her and her husband’s Christian beliefs conflicted with the message communicated by the ceremony, the ADF said. Willock filed a complaint with the New Mexico Human Rights Commission, accusing Elane Photography of discrimination based on sexual orientation.

The commission held a one-day trial and issued an order in April 2008 finding that the company engaged in discrimination prohibited under state law. The commission ordered the company to pay Willock $6,637.94 in attorneys’ fees.

“Christians in the marketplace should not be subject to predatory legal attacks for simply abiding by their beliefs,” said ADF Senior Counsel Jordan Lorence. “The Constitution prohibits the state from forcing unwilling artists to promote a message they disagree with and thereby violate their conscience. Should the government force a videographer who is an animal rights activist to create a video promoting hunting and taxidermy?

“American small business owners do not surrender their constitutional rights at the marketplace gate, nor can the government make people choose between their faith and their livelihood,” he continued.

Lorence charged that the commission’s decision showed a “striking disregard” for the company’s rights. He said the decision will be appealed to the New Mexico Court of Appeals.

Pope reflects on importance of religion for peace in the world

December 18, 2009

vatican columnsVatican City, Dec 17, 2009 / 03:37 pm (CNA).- On Thursday in the Vatican, the Holy Father met with and received the Letters of Credence from eight new ambassadors to the Holy See. During his dialogue with the diplomats, the Pope spoke on the importance of religion in culture, stressing that “religions lived according to their profound essence have been, and still are, a force for reconciliation and peace.”

“At this moment in history religions must, through open and sincere dialogue, seek the path of purification in order to conform ever more closely to their true vocation.”

The Holy Father continued to say that “peaceful coexistence of different religions in each nation is sometimes difficult. More than a political problem, this co-existence is a religious problem which lies within the bosom of each one of those traditions. Believers are called to ask God about His will concerning each human situation.”

“For people of faith or people of good will,” continued the Pontiff, “the resolution of human conflicts and the delicate coexistence of different religious expressions can be transformed into an opportunity for human coexistence within a social order full of goodness and wisdom, the origin and impulse of which lies in God. Such coexistence, respecting the nature of things and the inherent wisdom that comes from God, is called peace.”

Pope Benedict also spoke to the diplomats on the need for “environmental responsibility” since “the continual degradation of the environment constitutes a direct threat to man’s survival and his development, and threatens peace among individuals and peoples.”

The Holy Father concluded his address by saying that “the peace we so long for will not come into being save by the joint action of individuals, who discover the true nature of God, and of leaders of civil and religious society who - respecting the dignity and faith of all people - know how to give religion its noble and authentic role in creating and perfecting the human person.”

“This overall reworking, at once temporal and spiritual, will enable a new beginning towards the peace that God wishes to be universal.”

The eight new ambassadors to the Holy See are Hans Klingenberg of Denmark; Francis K. Butagira of Uganda; Suleiman Mohamad Mustafa of Sudan; Elkanah Odembo of Kenya; Mukhtar B. Tileuberdi of Kazakhstan; Abdul Hannan of Bangladesh; Alpo Rusi of Finland, and Einars Semanis of Latvia.

Win a New Toyota Corolla at St Gabriel’s Texi-Gras on Feb 6 2010!

December 18, 2009

2010 corollaMcKinney, TX (MetroCatholic) -

St Gabriel the Archangel Catholic Church has recently created a new ministry to aid and coordinate parish wide efforts to help the needy and poor of Collin County.  The Friends of St Vincent de Paul ministry was created this summer to address the growing needs and resources required by the St Gabriel Conference of St Vincent de Paul.  Our motto “We can’t all be Vincentians” serves as our guiding principle to channel the efforts of all ministries at St Gabriel in our calling to help the poor.

One of the FoSVDP efforts in the 2010 year is an annual community wide event to celebrate Mardi Gras.  This years’ event is called Texi-Gras, a Texas sized Mardi Gras.  The Texi-Gras will be at the St Gabriel Community Center on Feb 6, 2010, starting at 6 pm.  This annual event features a fantastic BBQ dinner with complementary beer and wine, a silent auction, gambling, hourly raffles, music, dancing, even a mechanical bull!  The feature raffle of the evening will have someone winning a 2010 Toyota Corolla.  The car was generously donated by Pat Lobb Toyota and all the ministries at St Gabriel have been selling raffle tickets ($10 each) at each mass and at locations all around Collin County.

The Texi-Gras will be the premier event in north Texas; if you can’t be at Mardi Gras then this is the place to be.  Admission to the event is $25/person, for fun, food, music and great times.  The Chairperson for the event Lisa Jones is heading up the team to put the event together says “We’ve heard the community and we’re so glad to offer lower ticket prices and live music and dancing to this year’s event.  It promises to be a big night all for a great cause so come on out and join us!”

We have openings for corporate sponsorships as well as opportunities if your organization would like to donate to the Silent Auction.  All sponsors logos will feature prominently in all literature and advertising for this event.  For silent auction or sponsorships please contact Kent Montgomery at [email protected]

Organization uses name of Blessed Mother to finance abortions in Mexico city

December 18, 2009

mary 1Mexico City, Mexico, Dec 18, 2009 / 01:07 am (CNA).- The Abortion Fund for Social Justice, “Women, Abortion, Reproduction and Accompaniment,” announced this week the launching of the “Maria Network,” a program which finances abortions for poor women in Mexico City using U.S. dollars.

The network operates by sidestepping legal roadblocks to abortion implemented by numerous Mexican states by bringing low-income pregnant women to Mexico City where they can obtain legal abortions.

The Abortion Fund for Social Justice is part of the National Network of Abortion Funds, based in the United States.

Eugenia Lopez Uribe, the network coordinator, told reporters that the “Maria Network” has been operating for six months and is supported by donations and volunteers.

The organization also provides technical assistance to pro-choice groups such as the Population Council, Gire, Ipas and the self-proclaimed Catholics for a Free Choice.

The Rutherford Institute Defends Second Grader Forced by School Officials to Undergo Psych Evaluation for Drawing Crucified Jesus

December 17, 2009

crucifix-green backgroundTAUNTON, Mass., Dec. 16 /Christian Newswire/ — The Rutherford Institute has come to the defense of the family of a second grader who was allegedly forced by school officials to undergo psychological evaluations after he drew a picture of a stick figure Jesus on the cross with X’s over his eyes.

A copy of Jalen’s drawing is available at http://www.rutherford.org/.

“This is a case of overreaction by school officials,” said John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute. “Jalen’s drawing was simply a reflection of something he saw at a Christmas light show. The psychological damage to this family is appalling, and it is a clear-cut violation of their constitutional rights.”

On December 2, 2009, Jalen Cromwell, a second grader at Lowell M. Maxham School in Taunton, Mass., was taken to the principal’s office where he was questioned without the presence of, or even notification to, his parents regarding a drawing he had made earlier that day depicting a stick figure Jesus on the cross with X’s over his eyes. The drawing reflected Jalen’s impressions about a recent family trip to the Christmas lighting festival at LaSallette. However, Jalen’s parents were later informed that, in keeping with school policy, he would not be permitted to return to school until he had undergone a psychological evaluation. Jalen has since informed his parents that he no longer trusts his teachers and does not want to continue attending the school due to the anxiety caused by this incident, a sentiment shared by his parents.

After being contacted by Jalen’s family, attorneys for The Rutherford Institute agreed to intervene. In a letter to the superintendent of the Taunton Public Schools, Institute attorneys pointed out that the effective suspension of Jalen from school deprived him and his parents of their constitutional rights to due process and punished Jalen for engaging in expressive activity protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. In light of the fact that this incident has made Jalen’s continued attendance at Maxham School untenable, Institute attorneys have also requested that the school arrange for Jalen to be transferred to an out-of-district school and for his parents to be compensated for the associated transportation costs. The Rutherford Institute has requested a response to its demand letter by 5 pm, EST, on Tuesday, December 22, 2009.

The Rutherford Institute is an international, nonprofit civil liberties organization committed to defending constitutional and human rights.

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