Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas

Merry Christmas, Happy St. Stephen's Day or Boxing Day, Happy Feast of the Holy Family!

I'll be blogging about the Christmas homily (I heard the same one twice) later on!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Real Men wear pink

That's what Fr. Brian told us at Mass today, and I couldn't help but laugh as I hear a comment along those lines almost every time a priest wears his "pink" or rose vestments. We had a member of the Salesian sisters talk to us today about the retirement fund collection. For a woman asking for money, she was quite entertaining and I was disappointed in myself that I had left my envelops (for the parish and the retirement fund) at home, but I'll drop them in the basket next week. Sister spoke after Fr. Brian gave us a short homily, not his shortest as that was his Exaltation of the Cross homily, none the less his homily was good as usual. I don't remember all of it as I suffered trough Bible study right after. Normally one doesn't expect to hear suffer and Bible Study in the same sentence, but alas for me the Bible study I was supposed to help run, has now become some time for me to the classic "offer it up" prayer of a Catholic.

Anyway back to Fr. Brian's homily, he spoke if his annual trip to the local mall, Garden State Plaza, and how how felt "loved" and "needed" as he past by the kiosks in the mall hallways. I almost asked him if he was in uniform aka wearing his collar, I was close, but not close enough to actually ask him, nor do I have the guts to ask a question in the middle of one's homily. I take it that he wasn't in his collar, because he pointed out that as a woman at one of the kiosks said to him something along these lines, "you're handsome, would you let me exfoliate your head." Fr. Brian's response was "for goodness sakes leave me alone I'm a priest." The woman's comment is made funnier as Fr. Brian is bald. Fr. Brian continued to point out some of the things he saw or heard at the mall, and the young man behind me and I were laughing because he works at said mall and I worked at the mall, so we knew all too well as did most of the people in the Church what Fr. Brian was talking about.

Fr. Brian pointed out that these people will only "love" us until the 25th but that God will and does love us long beyond that. That was the basic point of his homily, that God loves no matter what. I don't want to confuse what Fr. Brian said with what was said in Bible study, so I'm going to stop there as mentioning Bible study will set me off on a rant.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

When I get into something I really get into it *updated*

So I literally spent the last week reading the Twilight Series books. Normally I wouldn't even think to pick up these books, but my friend, Bridget's niece read them and told her to read them and as a result I was told to read them so I did.

I have yet to see the movie, so I can only comment on the books right now, and from what I have seen with the trailers for the movie, the book is better, as is usually the case. Now I've heard both good things and bad things about the books so I wasn't sure what to expect. I knew something must be good if Bridget was after me to read them.

Yes it's about vampires and other mythical creatures but if you get beyond that; you can see series of books with a great message. The woman who wrote the books is a Mormon so at first you wonder how she could write a book involving "evil" creatures such as vampires. Stephenie Meyer has written a book for teens that they love with a "save sex" til marriage message.

Maybe it's because I'm a girl and yes the book is geared toward teenage girls, but I found myself having played the part of the main character, Bella, in my own life, and if I can I assume many other girls have too. Seeing a guy, falling in love, (though mine wasn't true love as I'm not married yet), wanting to be with said guy.

The movie as I expected was good but no where near as good as the book.

Also, when I comment else where that I am a 29 year old who and read the books vs. a teen who has read them, I don't need to get comments that say "well most of them haven't read good literature, so very average literature appeals to them... no offense" As a person who went through Catholic grammar and Public high school and I say easily that it wasn't until I met my friend Bridget that I started reading CS Lewis, JRR Tolkien, and many others, so I trust her opinion on books. She got the better education, she was home schooled I suffered through a Holocaust book a year in high school along with other books, never once did we read Narnia, or Lord of the Rings, which is we wanted a taste of good literature is what we should have been reading.

The person who posted that comment may not have meant any offense, but really if you have to start or defend yourself with "no offense", you knew someone would be offensive. Yes I like the Twilight books. I like them because they have good morals in them, and it's a great way to get them to teens. A lot of my CCD girls have said I want to marry Edwards, I say that's great but he's a fictional character, but you should look for someone who treats woman the way Edward treats Bella.

Edward as a vampire is fascinated with Bella as she's the only human who's mind he can't read. he doesn't stalk her as some have said (they have not read the books if this is what they come up with), he tries to protect her and get to know her,and well Bella needs protection. He thinks and looks at himself as a monster and wants to know what possibly could attract her to him (other than her blood) and well most of all her to him. Edward tries many times to get Bella to realize that he's dangerous, but as Bella says it doesn't matter what you are, I love you.

It's a fictional story, why are people reading so much in between the lines. Edward won't "change" Bella (into a vampire, actually he's opposed to it through out most of the books) until after she has married him, and once they are married they behave like a married couple, sex is saved until after marriage like it's supposed to be. Yes they kiss in the books, don't most people kiss while dating, as for Edward watching Bella sleep, well he cant' sleep, she has too, find me someone who hasn't fallen asleep in front of someone or a parent who hasn't watched their child sleep.

I'll blog about why I think the movie was bad later.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

SHU's Chapel

I went looking for my pictures of the Chapel, it took me a while to find them as I didn't remember when I took them just that I took them. Alas I found them, they are from October 2007 despite my thinking it was before that.



You can see in this picture that different designs were being "tried out" on the wall, it took me a second to realize that something was different.





I thought I did a better job of taking pictures, guess I was in too much of a hurry to actually get the pictures taken than caring about how focused they were. I just say I'm excited to go and see the re-stored Chapel and to take pictures of it.

Here's an article on the re-stored Chapel

As soon as I find pictures of the newly restored Chapel I will try to do a side by side comparison. The pictures I was sent by one of the campus ministers were sent to her by one of the priests on campus and I don't want to use his personal photos on my blog. Oh well that's just an excuse to go visit one of my favorite chapels. You'll see a picture in the link if you click on it.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

On a happier note

Seton Hall my alma mater just finished refurbishing it's chapel so I'll be posting some pics soon. I've always loved the Main Chapel as we called it and it looks amazing I can't wait to see it in person.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Sometimes you don't what to think.

This morning I woke up at 8am a fairly normal hour, I checked facebook from my phone because I am that addicted to it. I saw my friend James' status was "going back to NJ for a very sad day." I assumed it had something to do with his wife's side of the family so I let it go. About an hour later and after sleeping some more, I check facebook via my phone again. It amuses me that I do this because the PC is down the hallway in the living room. This time I saw Brendan's status say "pray" and I saw Britney's status say "praying for everyone." I knew with Brendan having pray up that it was James' side of the family and when Britney (a friend of the family) had something written I thought "uh-oh."

Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would get the text message that I did get. So after seeing these statuses I send a text message to my friend Bridget (she is James and Brendan's Aunt) and I say "What happened or what is happening, I only ask because of James', Brendan's and Britney's statuses on facebook." I got back a very straight forward message that said "I didn't get to call you yet, but it's Nicky. He's dead. We're going to the hospital." I read the text message and I knew what it said and I responed back with a "holy crap, what the hell happened? tell katie and everyone that i'll be praying for everyone."

I honestly expected to be something about Bridget's father, and I don't know why her dad came to mind first but he did. I never thought I would read, hear, see the words Nicky's dead. Nicky is Bridget's grand-nephew or great-nephew what ever you want to call him and Katie is her nice and Nicky's mom.

I re-read the text message about 4 or 5 times before it really sank in and then again it really didn't until a little while later when James (Katie's brother, Nicky's uncle and then Bridget's nephew) left a message much like the one I left for our friend Kelly, you know the classic, "when you get this call me back, I've got news that I'm not leaving on a message."

I had of all things a funeral Mass to go to so I went off and showered and continuously checked facebook via my cell phone at times wishing that somehow Bridget's text was going to magically change. I went to the funeral Mass and tried my best to think of and pray for Joann, whom I know from the Cornerstone Retreat team I am on, who is the wife of the man who the funeral Mass was for, but I couldn't my mind was completely on Nicky and Katie. Fr. George was preaching to the family of the man who died, he was preaching to all of us, but it was geared towards the family. Fr. George spoke of love. All I could think of was yep that's why it hurts because I love Katie and Nicky. I know where Nicky is, he's in Heaven with his cousins Fiona and Bernadette and his great-aunt Teresa and his great-uncles Matthew and Owen, who also were taken home to God earlier than we would have liked. I'm sure there's other family members up there too, I just know their names.

Nicholas Tolentine Alexander Knock (yes that is his full name, he was born around or on the feast of our Lady of Knock so that got tossed in, and Alexander came from Fiona (who died about a month and a half before Nicky was born) whose middle name is Alexandra), may you rest in peace, your short life brought great joy to those of us who knew you, even if I was the crazy one with the camera that you saw once in a while.

Katie my prayers are with you as you will need them more than anyone. I want to do nothing more than just hug you right now. My prayers are also with the family, I've know you guys for 10 years now and from the first time I met you I was treated as family. Hell, most of you consider me family.

Life is so confusing at times. God has His plan, we may not understand it, but we have to go with it.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

I was asked to pass this around

so I am. Chris Slattery of EMC in NYC asked me to pass this article around and if possible leave a comment on it. I will leave my comments later as I'm off to dinner at a friend's house, however I am taking the time to post the link. As I don't know how many people actually read the blog, I figure it's better to post it anyway even if only one person reads it. ;)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

hey why not

Go here and vote for Thomas Peters, he writes and runs the awesome blog known as American Papist. Gotta help out the fellow Catholic grad school student, as I hope to be one of those soon. ;)

Monday, November 10, 2008

The election

From Cardinal Sean O'Malley's blog, "Our prayer is that the new administration and the new Congress will work for a just and lasting peace and to protect the dignity of human life in all its stages, from the moment of conception until the moment of natural death."

I agree Cardinal Sean!


I'm not surprised that Obama won, disappointed yes, but not surprised as so many "Catholics" voted for him and his so called Catholic running mate. The Bishops have a great teaching opportunity on their hands and I hope they jump on it, looks like they will be discussing this at their meeting. For me personally it's gotten me to at least think of doing more for the pro-life movement. I've been slacking with that and now I have a good excuse.

What I don't get is why so many people think he's a change. Not being George Bush is not enough change, and honestly I'm tired of people blaming one man for the countries issues. Last time I check Congress aka our Senators and Representatives were the ones to make the laws, so therefore there is no change in DC. It irks me that so many people are comparing him to Kennedy and that young people are back in the White House. Excuse me, the Bushes are not that old, just because they are conservative doesn't make them old. I'm tired of the media attacking Palin and watching the GOP do nothing but watch her fall under the bus that they seem to be driving now.

The election is over, America is about to get what it wanted too bad that means an awful lot of dead babies if Obama gets his way. 50 million voices have been lost, wonder what they would have said during this election. Oh well, many prayers will be said and that's honestly all we can do right now. I'm also curious as to how many people voted for Obama simply because he's "black." Personally I don't care what color your skin is, if you can't figure out that killing the unborn is wrong you're not getting my vote, you could be green and orange and I still wouldn't vote for you. So much was tossed around about Obama's race, and how we're not a racist country if we elect him, I really want to know how many people voted for him because of his skin color, notice I'm saying voted against him, as I do think we are beyond that thanks to many people. I highly doubt Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would appreciate Obama's stance on abortion, but he would be impressed to see that one's color isn't that be of a deal anymore, or at least it doesn't seem to be.

I think this years March for Life will be one of the biggest ever, but we shall see.

Monday, October 20, 2008

strangely amused

Thanks to Fr. Z's blog on All Souls Day I was able to showcase my stellar skills at reading blogs tonight at my parish's liturgy committee meeting. In discussing All Souls Day, the liturgical colors for the altar were being discussed, and someone realized All Souls Day fell on a Sunday this year and I said to our pastor (whom I sit next too, no one else seems to like to do that) I think All Souls Day trumps Sunday this year, I read it somewhere. He looked at me and said "I don't know about that" Of course that began the search for what does happen, and lo and behold Fr. Z was right. ;) Our sourcebook said it, our lector book said it, and the most important one the Ordo said it. I think I impressed my pastor in my knowledge of random Church stuff. Thanks Fr. Z for giving me an amusing story of knowing more about liturgy than either of the priests or two of the deacons at my parish.

Well done good and faithful servant

I have yet to read the actual articles that are mentioned, they are printed out and waiting for me, but this needs to be shared.

Archbishop Chaput is awesome, he has been quite outspoken in the lines of abortion and the election and certain "Catholic" politicians. The Gospel from Sunday was the "give unto Caesar what is Caesar's and give unto God what is God's" A perfect gospel to show that politics and religion do sometimes mix as they should. I couldn't help but think of the Archbishop's book Render Unto Caesar today during Mass. I'm actually going to buy a copy of it tomorrow on my way to work, there happens to be a Barnes and Noble on my way to work.

Alas, now that I have finally gotten my fingers to warm up, they were cold with the fall weather here in New Jersey, I've taken to searching Barnes and Noble for books that I want and that could work for work too. :) Oh well, off to figure out what to talk about on Sunday for Confirmation.

Friday, October 17, 2008

An interesting election quiz

Like this is surprising...

McCain
You preferred McCain's statements 75% of the time
You preferred Obama's statements 25% of the time

Voting purely on the issues you should vote McCain

Who would you vote for if you voted on the issues?

Find out now!

The second time I tried it I got this...

McCain
You preferred McCain's statements 89% of the time
You preferred Obama's statements 11% of the time

Voting purely on the issues you should vote McCain

Who would you vote for if you voted on the issues?

Find out now!

Third time...

McCain
You preferred McCain's statements 67% of the time
You preferred Obama's statements 33% of the time

Voting purely on the issues you should vote McCain

Who would you vote for if you voted on the issues?

Find out now!

It really doesn't matter, I knew I wouldn't agree with Obama on most things, though it is interesting that you can take this "quiz" over and over to see who you would pick. So over all I'm 77% for McCain and 23% for Obama. Really that's not surprising at all, considering that on at least 2 issues I am directly opposed to Obama.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

I've been waiting for this

Finally, Pappa Arty aka Bishop Serratelli has said something involving politicans and abortion. I first met Fr. Serratelli on the bus ride down to the March for Life, he was rector of the minor seminary at the time, and Seton Hall United for Life, the organization I was a part of, was in charge of the bus. I know he's a very busy man, between changing the English translation, and other trips he took over the summer, so I gave him til now to say something and he did, because he's always been a strong voice for the unborn. While this "letter" aka column in the weekly diocesian paper, The Beacon, is not in direct responce to Pelosi or Biden, we all know which politican the Bishop is talking about. As I am at work, (It's all good, I work for the Church, they can't get mad at me for reading a Bishop's letter), I will just paste the article. Later on I will add my comments to/about it.

What follows is Bishop Serratelli's article, feel free to read it here or as I'm giving you the direct link to it on the Paterson Diocese webpage,

A Politician's Promise: No Right to Life! No Freedom!
After committing a murder in Rome, the famous 17th century Italian painter Caravaggio went to Malta to avoid the death penalty. While there, the Great Master of the Order of the Knights of Malta commissioned him to do a painting for the chapel of the Co-Cathedral of St. John in Valletta. Caravaggio chose as his theme the martyrdom of John the Baptist. He produced The Beheading of St. John, his largest work, the only one he ever signed. No doubt the scene touched him personally.

Herod was married to Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife. Because John the Baptist preached against this sin, he incurred the hatred of Herod’s wife. The day her daughter Salome delighted Herod with her seductive dance, Herodias had her make Herod promise to kill John the Baptist. Within the severe architecture of a 16th century prison, Caravaggio vividly depicts the grisly moment when Herod kept his promise.

Caravaggio’s work, considered his greatest masterpiece, immortalizes the misguided fidelity of a ruler to his gruesome promise. With the stroke of the soldier’s sword, John dies and so does freedom. Freedom is based on the truth of the human person as created by God and protected by his law.
When a ruler can decide against God’s law, true freedom is sentenced to death.

Recently, a politician made a promise. Politicians usually do. If this politician fulfills his promise, not only will many of our freedoms as Americans be taken from us, but the innocent and vulnerable will spill their blood.

On April 18, 2007, in Gonzales v. Carhart, The Supreme Court upheldthe Partial-Birth Abortion Ban. The very next day prominent Democratic members of Congress reintroduced the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA). The bill is misleadingly packaged as a freedom bill. It is not! It is a clear act of unreasoned bias to end abruptly and brutally the debate on the pressing and fundamental moral issue of the right to life.

For thirty-five years, Americans have been wrestling with The Supreme Court’s decision legalizing abortion in Roe v. Wade. Most Americans now favor some kind of a ban on abortion. Most who allow abortion would do so only in very rare cases. In fact, in January, 2008, the Guttmacher Institute published its 14th census of abortion providers in the country. Its statistics showed that the abortion rate continues to decline. Abortions have reached their lowest level since 1974. There is truly a deep sensitivity to life in the soul of America.

The Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) would mortally wound this sensitivity. In effect, it would dismantle the freedom of choice to do all that is necessary to respect and protect human life at its most vulnerable stage. FOCA goes far beyond guaranteeing the right to an abortion throughout the nine months of pregnancy. It arrogantly prohibits any law or policy interfering with that right. While advocates trumpet this law as the triumph of the freedom of choice, they hide the dark reality that the law would actually inhibit choice.

Laws protecting the rights of nurses, doctors and hospitals with moral objections to abortion would no longer stand. Health and safety regulations for abortion clinics would also vanish. Gone the freedom of health care professionals to be faithful to the Hippocratic Oath “to prescribe regimens for the good of …patients…and never do harm to anyone, to please no one [by prescribing] a deadly drug nor [by giving] advice which may cause his death.” Gone the freedom of conscience so essential for a civil society!

If a minority of avid abortionists succeed to impose this law because of the ignorance or apathy of the majority, the law would force taxpayers to fund abortions. Gone the freedom of taxation with representation!

In its 1992 Casey decision, The Supreme Court ruled as constitutional state laws requiring that women and young girls who seek an abortion receive information on the development of the child in the womb as well as alternatives to abortion. The ruling also determined that a period of waiting, usually 24 or 48 hours before making a decision about an abortion is not an undue burden. The Freedom of Choice Act would nullify these laws immediately. Gone the freedom of women and young girls to have all the information they need to make their own choices!

In about half of the States, there are parental notification or consent laws in effect for minors seeking an abortion. The Supreme Court has ruled that these laws are permitted under Roe v. Wade. With the stroke of a pen, these laws would be abolished. Gone the freedom of parents to care for and protect their children and grandchildren!

Advocates of FOCA redefine a woman’s “health” so as to expressly permit post-viability abortions. Thus, a child who survives an abortion can be left to die for the health of the mother. No politically correct word can mask this reality for what it is. This is infanticide. Gone the freedom for a baby, once born, to live!

Science does not dispute that the child in the womb already has all the characteristics that he or she will develop after birth. Notwithstanding, abortionists obstinately refuse the right of the child within the womb to live as a fundamental human right. They are not happy that Americans have not swallowed their distorted propaganda that denies the dignity of the human person from the first moment of conception.

Pro-abortion advocates close their eyes to the fact that abortion even hurts women as it undermines the very fabric of our society. Their zeal for the Freedom of Choice Act sounds the alarm for decent Americans to wake up! The more the right to life is denied, the more we lose our freedoms. The “pro-choice” movement is not pro-choice. It stands against the freedom to choose what is right according to the truth of the human person.

In 2002, as an Illinois legislator, the present democratic candidate voted against the Induced Infant Liability Act. This law was meant to protect a baby that survived a late-term abortion. When the same legislation came up in the Judiciary Committee on which he served, he held to his opposition. First, he voted “present.” Next, he voted “no.”

Along with 108 members of Congress, the present democratic candidate for President continues his strong support for the Freedom of Choice Act. In aspeech before the Planned Parenthood Action Fund last year, he made the promise that the first thing he would do as President would be to sign the Freedom of Choice Act. What a choice for a new President!

At the time when Herod murdered John the Baptist because of his promise, Rome practiced the principle "one man, one vote." Whoever the emperor in Rome placed in authority over a subject people, ruled. Today we live in a democracy. We choose our leaders who make our laws. Every vote counts. Today, either we choose to respect and protect life, especially the life of the child in the womb of the mother or we sanction the loss of our most basic freedoms. At this point, we are still free to choose!

Oh somewhat exciting. ;)

It's that time of year again when the US Bishops will be meeting!

http://usccb.org/comm/archives/2008/08-143.shtml

Maybe this time they will actually approve the translation.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Life in general

I feel like I have neglected my poor little blog, but the last 3 weeks have been a whirlwind. Between work with all the Confirmation interviews, goodness I have a lot of educating to do, then introducing myself to the parish, attending a workshop on youth ministry (which isn't even part of my job yet :-P), and then finally the first Confirmation session. Again I state I have a lot of educating to do, but as it says "preach the Gospel daily and if necessary use words."

Added to all this are Cornerstone meetings, (which will warrant a blog later)and finally Sunday's big event, our Jubilee Mass. My home parish not to be confused with my work parish, just celebrated it's 100th Anniversary. YAY! The outdoor Mass with Bishop Serratelli went wonderfully despite the rain that fell that morning. It stop with enough time to make sure the seats were dry for Mass. It was Respect Life Sunday, and if I was God, I'd be crying over all my murdered children too.

Really it was raining at 6am and it rained until about 9am-ish. It was over cast from 10am-2:30pm, which is when the local life chain was to begin. I didn't go this year, the day was just too busy, but I did pray for the babies.

I'm still alive, just busy as I'm babysitting on top of all this, gotta pay the bills somehow.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Josh Groban at the Emmys

OH my goodness, this was hysterical. I cried I laughed so hard, I'm not sure if South Park or Fresh Prince is funnier, the whole darn thing is funny, so it's tough. The faces Josh makes are classic too, seriously I've watched this 3 times and I laugh each time I see it.



and just in case the embedding didn't work, here's the link.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u7xD59eAnUc

Monday, September 15, 2008

Baby Hats

As I sat crocheting a hat for a preemie baby while waiting for the child I babysit to finish up with speech therapy a worker came over and asked, "what are you making?" I replied a baby hat, my friend's niece was born with anencephaly so she had made her niece hats, so we're making some for St. Joe's as they asked her too." She then asked me what stitch I was using and I gladly said "double crochet" while noticing she had precious feet on her tag. I don't know why it amused me that she would have those on at Hackensack University Medical Center, for some reason I tend to assume that those that work for "public" places don't wear their opinions on their sleeves per say. I added that if they needed hats that we would gladly donate some to them and she said, "we don't get many tiny babies here, but NICU probably needs some.

While making the hat, I looked at how tiny it was/is and wondered what child could possible be that small and then I thought of those born even earlier than I was, as I was on course to be a normal sized baby, I just wanted out 10 week early. ;) Thankfully God has blessed me with wonderful health and I've had no health issues.

I was looking on line at different groups and saw pictures of a baby tiny enough to fit the hat I was making, and it just made me more determined to make hats. As the hats are small, they are completed quickly, and well the more babies we can keep warm the better. Makes you appreciate life on a whole new level when you see how determined some of these "little ones" are, though they don't all make it to have a full life, they have all blessed someone with their presence.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Exaltation of the Cross

Today we got a homily that "11 words long." Fr. Brian came forward to give him homily and simply asked "how much does Jesus love you"... Fr. Brian walks over to the pulpit and picks up a crucifix (Fr. Brian gives him homilies from the middle of the altar) and says "Jesus loves you this much." Fr. Brian placed the crucifix on a podium-like column and says "please kneel" the entire congregation kneels while on the organ is played Were You There. After about 2.5 verses Fr. Brian stands up and continues on with Mass.

Fr. Brian placed the focus on the Cross, what more could you ask for on the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

September 11th *updated*

Seeing as this day holds memories of happiness and sadness and I hope to never forget what happened, it's time for my traditional Sept. 11th blog.



This image while not the best, as I was watching the coverage of Pope Benedict at Ground Zero via the jumbo-trons in Yankee Stadium reminds us how sacred the ground at Ground Zero is. Today holds many memories, happy ones as it's my brother and sister-in-law's ninth anniversary. Smart ass that he is, my brother chose 9-1-1 so everyone would remember it, and it happened to be a Saturday, so they went with it. Little did we know what would happen. There are sad memories from the actual day in 2001 and this year the date stings a bit more.

I remembered that Bernadette would have been 6 months old on Sunday, but it bypassed me that today would be her 6 month anniversary. While Bernadette is not my niece and I know that I will never know the pain that her mother, father, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents feel, but it still stings. I know Bernadette's family quite well and I did drop most things to go watch my friends' (Bernadette's aunt and uncle) kids so they could be with Bernadette's mom and dad, so I was there in spirit. It just doesn't seem like March was only 6 months ago. Bernadette graced us from March 7th- March 11th, and we are all better for it. Bernadette, her parents and her sister are a great story/image for the pro-life movement. Bernadette was given the gift of life by her parents because they believe that all life is sacred, even those that are supposed to only last a few hours. Bernadette had a condition called anencephaly, so her parents knew from fairly on in the pregnancy what the outcome would be. They never backed down in defending their daughter's right to life, and for that among other things, they fall into the category of "heroes" in my mind and are a great example of the Gospel of Life that JP2 called us to. Bernadette, enjoy your place in Heaven and keep praying for us.

Each year I try to write something about today and it is usually the "where was I on Sept. 11th" blog. This year will be similar, but different as each year we are removed brings something with it.


What I wrote last year via my livejournal...
"I did a google search for the "dennis mchugh run" and found this " Today, LoHud.com carries a special Community View, by Chloe McHugh, the daughter of FDNY member Dennis McHugh, who was killed at the World Trade Center.

Here's a section of Chloe's Community View: "My dad, Dennis McHugh of Ladder 13 was one of the 3,016 people that died on 9/11. My dad was one of those "wake-up and be happy" kind of guys, he never let anything bring him down. He loved to run and go to the library with me but he also liked to work. In the six years that he has been dead there have been a lot of changes in not only my life, but in everyone's lives. If you take a good look around you can see all the changes that have happened. Do you see what the firefighters, policemen,and policewomen have done to change this country? My dad was one of the many people who ran in at the last moment to get as many people as possible out of the falling buildings.""

Rest in peace Dennis, you have touched and saved many lives.




Every year my family goes in to "the City" for the St. Patrick's Day Parade, and I think they started the 343 flags the St. Patrick's right after the attacks, but I'm not a hundred percent sure. I remember being at the parade and watching the flags appear up on 5th Ave. when these flags pass by is the only time the crowd is ever quiet. It is an amazing site that pictures do not give or do justice. 343 brave men and women ran into those buildings are they were falling. The man mentioned above was one of those 343 taken from the FDNY, and while I may never have known him personally, our families knew each other. Dennis' father and my father either worked on the NYC buses together or are from the same county/section of Ireland or it could be both. Dennis' wake sits in my memory as something unsual, yet profound at the same time. The outpouring of love shown at that wake was unreal. I remember the line to get in wrapped around the parking lot a few times and we were early. In front of us on/in the line was a volunteer firefighter from Rockland County. I remember this because of his actions inside the funeral home and our conversation outside. We walked into the funeral home and what struck me besides the fact that there was no body, but a huge picture of Dennis in his dress FDNY uniform, were the flowers that said "Daddy you will always be our hero" and the firefighter in front of me, giving a full salute to Dennis' picture, it was the classic full attention, back straight, heels together, hat on head salute. To watch this man who might have been from the same area of Rockland County as Dennis stop and salute his fallen brother as he called him moved me to tears.

Dennis was not the only one we knew who died in the attacks. John Gallagher, who worked for Cantor Fitzgerald, lived down the street from us when we lived in the Bronx and I remember distinctly one visit I made with my brother who was in school with John to his family's house. I remember John's memorial Mass was just a big reunion of families that hadn't seen each other in years. We laughed, I heard a lot of "no, that's not 'little Mary'" as I was 12 years younger than the boys and we had been out of the Bronx for 8 years at that point. John's Mass wasn't somber, well at times it was, but it truly a Mass celebrating the life that John lived on this Earth. The picture of John holding his newborn son is what touched most people, but as the priest who said the Mass said, "John is up in Heaven laughing at the fact that he brought you all back here for a party." It truly was as we went to Mass in the church, and continued our way downstairs to the school gym. I can't tell you how many times that happened when I was a child, but it was a lot and the school gym was also where the boys would play basketball and other adventures would take place.

Both men, John and Dennis, have managed to touch many lives during their lives on Earth and are continuing to do so as they live in their Eternal resting place, as do the others who were taken with them.

I'm taking a short break to watch TV and then you'll get my account of where I was that day.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Soundtrack to my life

I was searching for the blog that had my September 11th memories on it and found the set your iPod/mp3 player on shuffle and see what happens, well this is what happened...

Opening credits:
Cats in the Cradle- Cat Stevens

Waking up:
Desire-U2

Average day:
Slip Jigs - McKee & Bradley

First date:
Falling off a Log- Backyardigans

Falling in love:
Celtic Fire (Live Version)- Flatley's Feet of Flames

Fight scene:
The Big Reel of Ballynacally/The High Hill/Flash Away The Pressing Gang- Solas

Breaking up:
Easy Reels- Bradley Bros. (not too much of a genre shuffle here)

Getting back together:
Everywhere But Here- Nick Lachey

Secret love:
Drunken Gauger- Mark Arrington

Life's okay:
Yes-Coldplay

Mental breakdown:
Born to be my Baby-Bon Jovi

Driving:
We Walk by Faith-Marty Haugen (LMAO)

Learning a lesson:
Much Too Young To Feel This Damn Old-Garth Brooks

Deep thought:
Long For You-Ceili Rain

Flashback:
Mountain Dew- The Pogues

Partying:
McQueen's Lost- Cars Soundtrack

Happy dance:
Radio- Friday Mourning

Regretting:
Why Do I Always Want You- The Saw Doctors

Long night alone:
Jigorous-Ceili Rain

Death scene:
Jockey to the Fair- Irish Dance sets

Friday, September 5, 2008

Election '08 (pro-life)

I refused to watch the Democrats at their convention, because I know I would just get annoyed and toss out comments along of the lines of you don't care about families or the unborn so why should I listen to you.

I did watch Gov. Palin's speech and Sen. McCain's speech mainly because I wanted to see what Palin was capable of and McCain's I watched simply because well I wanted to see what happened. Palin was great, though her speech was written for her (as was Obama's Biden's, McCain's, and both Hillary and Bill Clinton's speech) her wit was great, her explanation of what she has done while is office was good. Palin impresses me because she's more than just talk, she has instilled values in her children and we can see that with the pregnancy of her eldest daughter. Bristol Palin made a mistake but she and her future husband chose to keep the baby and are getting married. She is hardly the first person to pregnant at a young age. Sarah Palin gave birth to a baby with Downs Syndrome. I think the statistic is something like 80% if not 90% of pregnancies that might have Downs result in abortion, meaning death for the baby.

My issue with Obama and Biden is that I can not wrap around my head how someone with children can support abortion. I don't understand it and I never will. I know I was given grace by God (happens when one is baptized and confirmed) probably because I was 10 weeks premature and my was an "older mom" and was baptized the day after I was born, Dec. 12 the feast of our Lady of Guadalupe who is the patroness of the unborn.

I've often wondered why I'm so adamant about the pro-life movement. I was born 10 weeks early and weighed in just shy of 4 pounds, named after the Blessed Mother, with Christine (Christ) as my middle name. My parents took no chances and baptized me right away on Dec. 12, and a priest from our parish in New York City would never allow to forgot what day I was baptized on. May God continue to bless him in his ministry as I probably would not have read the story of Juan Diego albeit via a "comic book" but I was a young child at the time. I managed to choose Anne as my Confirmation simply because I wanted a vowel in my initials. Seriously, that's why I chose Anne. I have to come to see that I have Anne, Mary and Christ in my name, and those people 3 forces to be reckoned with. My mom always made a point to talk to me about Cardinal Cooke. Cardinal Cooke died in October 1983, I was too young to remember him, but much like Archbishop Sheen, Cardinal Cooke has touched my life with out me really knowing it. Turns out that part of Cardinal Cooke's family is from the same area as my maternal grandfather, in essence "down the street" from my family. There is a tiny church in Athenry, which is where Cardinal Cooke's mother was from and where my grandfather was from. There are rumors in the family that somewhere we are related. That might explain my intense defense of the unborn.

Cardinal Cooke and his successor Cardinal O'Connor were both defenders of the unborn, as was Archbishop Sheen and I often in prayer ask the three of them to pray for us.

More to come later as I have to get ready to go to "work"

Monday, September 1, 2008

Get Behind me Satan! *updated*

So the title of this comes from the Gospel from Sunday Aug. 31st, it was the continuation of the Gospel from the week before. The idea of St. Peter being so good one day and so bad the next as always amused me, as well it really does sum up how must of us are. I was once told to read the Passion, and watch Jesus of Nazareth (the movie) during Holy Week to "make up" for what I thought was a "bad Lent" and to see whom I was most like. Sometimes I say Mary because of my name, but almost always when I think about it, I'm Peter. We all are, one day I can say OK JESUS, and the next day unfortunately deny Jesus, but when it comes down to it and it matters I say THAT'S RIGHT I'M WITH JESUS.

Interestingly the word deny comes up in the Gospel. "Deny one's self, take up your cross and follow me" are the words of Jesus we hear. Recently I've been leaning towards wishing to hear Fr. Brian's homilies, but Fr. George did a good job with this one. I laughed when the homily started because Fr. George did his typical joke to get everyone to pay attention and because I said to myself "I didn't read Fr. Jim's homily before Mass this week, must mean this one will be decent." It's usually true that if I read Fr. Jim's homily via his blog before I go to Mass that the one at St. A's is lacking. Fr. George's was decent, it didn't blow me out of the water, but honestly most don't.

Fr. George focused on the aspect of deny one's self which leads many times to taking up a cross that was expected yet unexpected and finally it all leads to following Jesus. I remember Fr. George saying that deny one's self meant we didn't need all the material possessions that we so often want and "need." He spoke about how when we deny ourselves something that we can gain from in. In denying one's self one is to cling to Jesus, hence why this line usually get quoted by people. Fr. George mentioned at one point and I remember this because I'm usually surprised when he touches upon the topic of "pro-life" activities from the pulpit. He spoke about how taking up one's cross means going against the tide in some cases and while those are not his exact words, it did make me think of the election and the "pro-life" movement. It was a basic stand up for what you believe in type homily, which I guess I need reminding of everyone once in a while.

The week before I happened to have Fr. Brian at Mass, and it tells you something that nearly 2 weeks later I still remember the homily. I happened to be sitting in the first pew, which I haven't done since my days at Seton Hall. I felt a little too close to the presider's chair, but alas that wasn't too big of a deal. The week before August 24th was the Gospel where Jesus commends Peter for knowing who He is and getting it right. Jesus does add in, this was revealed to you, which it is. Fr. Brian tied this into the apostolic succession and the succession of St. Peter to the current Pope. I remember Fr. Brian speaking about Humane Vitae and how we should read what the popes have written especially the current Holy Father and the last one. I laughed as Fr. Brian said that because I have read the writings of JP2 and I am currently reading Jesus of Nazareth by PB16 (as Fr. Brian calls him)and was reading Humane Vitae. Fr. Brian spoke of how Paul VI's document was prophetic in essence and he went on to point out 3 passages about how if artifical contraception was allowed that the country would do down hill, well as Fr. Brian put it, "I think he (Pope Pius VI) hit that one on the head.

What makes Fr. Brian's homily so interesting is that later on that night while a good friend and I were watching TV our other good friend called us to complain about the homily she got. (Side note the 3 of us earned the nickname unholy- holy trinity, as the 3 of us were RCIA sponsors and well for the most part inseparable in college) Any way my friend's homily was about how there were three major mistakes in the Church: Galileo, the Crusades, and Humane Vitae. I turned to my friend who was watching tv with me when I head her repeat what she heard and I said, oh no way, let me tell you about my homily.

At one church you have a good holy priest speaking about how Humane Vitae was a great document and that we need to read what the Popes have written and to listen to what they say, while at another you have a deacon who speaks of how the same document was a giant mistake in the Church.

This is why people don't know what to do, or what to believe. It amuses me that on on the same day these homilies were given that Nancy Pelosi was stepping in the largest pile of crap she could find. Props to the bishops who have used this as a teaching moment and those that continue to do so. It saddens me when people don't know or fully understand the Church that they were raised in, let alone ordained to a ministry in. People are confused because they can hear two different things and nothing is said as to whom is right. Thankfully the bishops came out and defended the Church and Her teachings.

May St. Peter continue to pray for us as we need it.

Friday, August 29, 2008

a pro-life woman as VP

Now this is exciting. Seriously, I feel like running around screaming like a little kid! McCain picks Sarah Palin aka the pro-life governor of Alaska as his running mate. The stories abound that Hillary supporters are now voting for McCain as he has picked a woman.

Fox News' breaking story

Catholic.org's breaking news

More on Mrs. Palin via foxnews


What I like is that she gave birth to down syndrome baby in April. After she was told you know there's a chance there could be something wrong with the baby, she went ahead and had the baby anyway. Her oldest boy who's 19 enlisted and is being shipped out to Iraq on Sept. 11th. (I got that tidbit from Catholic.org and I'm trying to find that link.)

This is really exciting!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Pelosi steps in it big time!

So on Sunday Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi was asked about abortion more specifically when does life begin and she sent herself down a certain river without a paddle.

Tom Brokaw on Meet the Press posed the question "If Senator Obama were to come to you and say 'Help me out here, Madame Speaker. When does life begin?' what would you tell him?" Pelosi did her best to answer the question, but she up and died and showed that she knows nothing about the teachings of the faith she practices. There's to much to actually post their conversation, but I will give a link to it, better than that I'll just post the you tube video.




As you can hear she thinks she is prepared and knows what she is talking about. However she has received more coverage in the last two days than she probably expected or wanted, considering that most of the coverage has been via Catholic blogs and from Bishops and some of her fellow Catholics responding with how wrong she is on the subject.

I believe the first to respond was Archbishop Chaput from Denver. Over on the Archdiocese of Denver's web page you will find this .
I am assuming that the good Bishop was quick to answer for a few reasons. One, the Democratic National Convention is in his city, second, he just wrote a book on "Serving the Nation by Living our Catholic Beliefs in Political Life", and thirdly because he is the type of bishop to come and stand up for the Church and Her teaching.

I have mainly been doing my reading of this story on two sitesAmerican Papist and Fr. Z's What Does The Prayer Really Say. American Papist points out that ten of Pelosi's fellow Representatives wrote a letter responding to her and asking her to apologize for what she has done to help reduce the scandal it has caused. Even the Bishops came out as a group and said something on their web page, it's actually on the main page.

I am sure there will be more on this story, but I needed a place to put all the links that I found about this story. I'm glad the Bishops and other Catholics are standing up to defend when life begins, which is at conception scientifically and theologically. Animation of the fetus (Latin for little one) is what St. Augustine and others were debating and saying was 3 months not when live begins. I am sure that I will be blogging more on this issue later too.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Running!

The 10 week program I would like to try from Runner's World..

I tried 30 mins of walk 3 run 2 which was apparently ahead of what I was supposed to be doing, so I'm opting to walk for 30 the next few days and then on Monday re-start the whole running thing. :)

our 10-Week Training Plan

The following running schedule was created by Budd Coates, Health Promotions Manager at Rodale Inc., who instructs a corporate beginning running program. Coates has taken nonrunners and, in 10 weeks, helped them reach their goal of running the 3.5-mile Chase Corporate Challenge.

Before you start with this schedule, get your legs ready with eight days of walking: walk for 20 minutes a day for the first four days, then increase to 30 minutes a day for four more days. Now you're ready to begin with week 1.

Each week of the program, do your run/walk workouts on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, and take Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday off.

10-WEEK TRAINING SCHEDULE

Week 1
Run 2 minutes,
walk 4 minutes.
Repeat 5 times.

Week 2
Run 3 minutes,
walk 3 minutes.
Repeat five times.

Week 3
Run 5 minutes,
walk 2.5 minutes.
Repeat four times.

Week 4
Run 7 minutes,
walk 3 minutes.
Repeat three times.

Week 5
Run 8 minutes,
walk 2 minutes.
Repeat three times.

Week 6
Run 9 minutes,
walk 2 minutes.
Repeat twice, then
run 8 minutes.

Week 7
Run 9 minutes,
walk 1 minute.
Repeat three times

Week 8
Run 13 minutes,
walk 2 minutes.
Repeat twice.

Week 9
Run 14 minutes,
walk 1 minute.
Repeat twice.

Week 10
Run 30 minutes.

Note: After completing week 9, if you feel tired, repeat this week of training before moving on to week 10.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Don't rock the boat

I guess the title for this blog should really be "Get out of the boat" as the past few homilies that have stuck with me have involved Fr. Brian and Deacon George telling us in their respective homily to step out of the comfort zone.

I don't mention Deacon George's homilies very often as the deacons only preach once a month in our parish and I usually end up with one of the other 3 deacons at the parish. I like Deacon George for many reasons, for starters he converted to Catholicism simply because his daughter one day asked "daddy why don't you come to church with us?" That was all he needed to get the ball rolling. I first met Deacon George through his son Michael who was a member of the parish youth group with me.

More to come later... off to bed I go as I'm off to the Bronx Zoo with some friends later on today.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Absolutely disturbing...

From PP's NY facebook group... "Did you know that MANY New York City Public Schools do not offer Comprehensive Sex Ed? CALL 311 today and tell them you believe sex education should be required in all NYC schools. It's a fast, free way to make a difference!"

There's more disturbing shit on the page, but I prefer not to be all bitchy and ready to beat something before going to bed. I'm sure I'll be adding to this post.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Homilies

I try to blog about the homily I hear each week as long as it affects me. I've noticed a pattern of it mainly being about Fr. Brian's homilies which are for the most part always awesome. I have taken to reading Fr. Jim's homilies over at his blog who is likewise just as awesome.

Fr. Geoff from Michigan whom I met through youth ministry at St. Anthony's who met him through Catholic Heart Work Camp says that awesome is an overused word. I agree with him, it is over used, but I can't think of another word to use to describe Fr. Brian's and Fr. Jim's homilies.

Any way, Mad Men on "on demand" has caught my attention so I'm off to watch it.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Sometimes I wonder

Seriously, if you teens to be active in the parish and you want them to be good Catholics they need to be formed correctly. Yes it's nice to give them the "potter (as in someone who makes pottery, not harry)retreat" and other things but they need to be formed correctly! If they know what and Who the Eucharist is, they will come to love it, trust me I should know.

I've spent the last 6.5 years trying to figure out what to do with a BA in Religious Studies and wanting to do ministry in the Church, but I don't know anymore. I know where and what my gifts are, but no one seems to want them.

Sometimes I wonder was it worth changing from nursing to religion. All these issues wouldn't exist if I just stayed a nursing major or hell even if I kept up my Irish step dancing, I would be a TCRG aka teacher by now, but alas hindsight is 20/20.

I need a drink.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Vote for David Wright!

Go vote for David Wright, I don't care who you vote for on the AL side, but on the NL side I want to see David Wright in the All Star Game despite his horrible performance recently!

Some wickedly great homilies!

Over on Fr. Jim's blog there's a pretty good homily for today! Fr. Brian over at St. Anthony's had a good homily too, which is usually the case. Fr. Brian tied right into the whole "proud to be Catholic and proud to be American" aspect of the weekend. Humility-generosity-charity more to come on this in a little while!

Two years

It does not seem like two years since I got two messages from Bridget, one saying, "you need to pray for Mary Ann, something happened to/with Fiona" the second "call me back when you get a chance I have sad/bad news." I was working at New York and Company at the time so I wouldn't have had my phone on until I left, which was usually 11pm or later as I mostly closed. I know the above messages are not word for word, but I knew from the moment I heard the first one what had happened. For the rest of the time I worked at New York and Company I hated turning on my phone after a night's work. It honestly took me 45 or more minutes to call Bridget back. I didn't want to do it on the way home, as I was driving, once I got home I couldn't bring myself to hear the words, "she's gone." Eventually I sucked it up and called and heard what I expected to hear, Fiona had died.

Here's the short version of the story, Fiona somehow at the age of 23 months managed to move a kids table over to the edge of the deck climbed up fell over the deck wall and fence into the pool area and was found face down in the pool. Bottom line of the story is that she died.

I remember going to work the next day numb as I didn't even know how to phrase what happened to my manager and to tell them I wouldn't be in on the days of the wake and funeral. I eventually told one of them and left it at that.

I remember looking at the small coffin with the pretty little girl in her pretty little dress with her beautiful curls in it. I remember how her Aunt Bridget and I made first class relics by simply touching Rosary Beads and other articles to Fiona. Mary Ann, Fiona's mom looked at us and once she realized what we were doing, she laughed.

That night Aunt Bridget and I ended up, well Bridget more than I, I was simply there to keep Bridget company, making the pall that would go over Fiona's casket. It was simply beautiful, a piece of white satin, with tulle around the bottom of it, with roses on the corners. We literally flew by the seat of our pants while making it and some how it came together, we know it was by the grace of the Holy Spirit. When we finished it, Bridget and I simply stepped back and looked at the pall lying on the dining room table and both said, "It's wrong that it's so pretty." We stared at it and eventually turned to each other and said, I can't look any more or I'll start crying, and seeing as we found a way to laugh while making the pall we both decided that the crying was best left for the Mass of Christian Burial. So I went home only to return to Newark the next morning for the Funeral Mass.

Mass was obviously sad, I walked in to see an honor guard of Irish Dancers in full uniform, who really did look out of place, but little Fiona loved watching her brother and sisters dance so she got an honor guard of dancers. Heck I dance around the house sometimes knowing she's probably watching. Larry aka Fr. Larry told us during the homily that Mary Ann told him that he was going to sing her a good African Spiritual, and Larry did, he started his homily out with "Swing Low Sweet Chariot coming forth to bring me home... and then went in to his homily, finding a way to make us laugh and cry." The hardest part was hearing Dan, Mary Ann's brother-in-law start to sing Elmo's World after we all laughed, we all cried, as Elmo was Fiona's favorite show and character. We walked out crying as was expected and it was raining slightly, and all I could think of and as Mary Ann's off the boat Irish mother-in-law said, "happy the corpse the rain falls on." Yep, leave to the Irish to say something like that, as Mary Ann and I said later, it always rains over there, they had to come up with something!

That day continued on with the actual burial part and the traditional meal back at Mary Ann's sister's house. Eventually I ended up staying over as the Peter Smith School Feis was the next day and I wanted to watch Mary Ann's kids dance.

It really doesn't seem like 2 years ago, but I know that it is. Fiona's death brought me closer to my faith and to the idea of Church Militant and Church Triumphant closer to me as well. The terms Church Militant, Church Triumphant, and Church Suffering aren't used anymore or at the very least not spoken about too much and I miss it. We connect with the Saints and saints (no I am not repeating myself, there's a difference between saint with a capital S and a lower case S) in a awesome way at every Mass and with Fiona's death that idea was brought closer to home for me.

Fiona is not the first "young person" for me to bury, honestly she's not even the youngest, her cousin Bernadette holds that honor, but she is one of the youngest and her death brought Heaven closer to me.

Fiona I will continue to pray to you, especially for parking spots, you and Tony are great at that, I will talk to you about others that we need to work on, and yes I know that you can run up to Jesus and sit on His lap and whisper our prayers to Him, if not I'm sure Mommy aka Mary is telling Him for us.

Fiona may you continue to rest in peace and to pray for us!

Fiona Alexandra Marie 7/13/04- 6/19/06

Saturday, July 5, 2008

I want.... (photo heavy!)

a Nintendo WII
Photobucket
and wii fit
Photobucket
a treadmill
Photobucket
a silly t-shirt
Photobucket
and a cheap laptop
Photobucket
I like the idea of having a Macbook, but it's expensive, though the idea of getting an ipod with it is nice, I just have to work for a school. ;)
maybe I can spend my stimulus check and then some all at one ;)

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Mets Blanket

Why I am posting this here I don't know. I have the privacy settings so damn high no one will be able to find it. Anyhoo, my friend Bridget has finally gotten me to start crocheting and now I am in the process of creating mets blankets. One for myself and one for Bridget. Here are some progress pictures, one of a few of the squares I have made and one of the 3rd blue squares being made. I have 4, really 5 out of 24 made. 3 out of 6 blue squares, 1 out of 6 orange squares, and 1 out of 12 white squares. I am still messing around with the order of the colors but it will be 4 squares wide by 6 squares long making it total of 44 inches by 66 inches as each squares is about 11 inches wide by 11 inches tall, and it all depends on how tight my stitches are, which seem to be getting tighter. I will be sure to update as I go along. Click on the pictures to see the full version. Photobucket Photobucket

Friday, June 27, 2008

sometimes things are closer to home than you think

During the war in Iraq I often thought it would be Mike (high school acquaintance and son of one of the deacons at my parish) or Paul (best friend's brother) I would hear about, however when they announced on the news the names of 3 soldiers who died over there on Monday, in particular Greg Dalessio, I thought, I know that name... did I go to school with him.Sure enough I got a link today from a fellow SHU alum via facebook and I can't place or remember how I know him, other than campus ministry keeps popping into my head. It will drive me nuts until I figure it out and now work study is popping into my head too, for all I know it could have been student ambassadors, but I'm thinking campus ministry.Captain Gregory Dalessio SHU classes of '00 MA '04 may you rest in peace and thank you for your ultimate sacrifice and love of your country. Without men (and woman) like you this country would be nothing. In doing a google search for Greg's name in an attempt to see how I knew him I found some interesting pages. This one in particular struck me as interesting. A news article on him from the Courier Post, the paper in South Jersey. am sure that more will come up on this topic...for now I'm off to sleep as it's the last day of CCD and it's been a long week.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Random comments from the priests...

that's right the priests...

I'm sitting quietly in the pew minding my own business when Fr. Brian says "I don't want you crying during Mass either."

I was at the 10am Mass, which I normally try to avoid because it's the "kids Mass" which means there are normally a lot of babies and kids making noise. Before someone jumps all over screaming about it, I love kids really I do and I love my friends kids and my niece and nephew but since I don't have any of my own I don't really need to subject myself to the Mass with the screaming kids.

The reason for Fr. Brian's comment where there was a 7 week old baby in the front fussing, babies do that, the kid's mom, dad or aunt shoved something in the kids mouth and he was happy as can be the rest of Mass. There was another baby making noise in the back, so Fr. Brian being Fr. Brian and knowing he can get away with it, tells me, 'no crying from you either." It made my day, and makes me think, "that's what makes him good." The only other priest to make comments like that to me is Fr. Bill, so Fr. Brian must be good. ;)

Monday, June 16, 2008

June 19, 2006

Seems like yesterday...

I know it's not quite her anniversary, but Fiona may you continue to do awesome work up there in Heaven.

Fiona Alexandra Marie July 13, 2004 - June 19, 2006

Fi, ora pro nobis!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Tim Russert

When checking my e-mail, I better be careful as the last time I started a blog like this, I got some lovely *rolls eyes* comments from Mr. or Ms. Anonymous. Any way when I check my e-mail I normally glance over and skip the CNN headlines/breaking news. I don't get them very often anymore so I decided to click on it today and imagine my surprise when I saw simply stated, Tim Russert has died of a heart attack, he was 58.

As is typically when a celebrity or some other well known person dies I immediately text my friends. Jokingly, and I mean jokingly I said is this a sign for liberals, both friends I texted are conservative like myself. The responses of shit, no way are given and we all go and check the news.

I actually rarely watched Russert's show, but from the debates that I suffered through, suffered because of the candidates not him, I was impressed with how he handled himself. I don't like that he was a Democrat and Catholic, but alas it is hard for people to get away from that stereotype, but overall he seemed to be a genuinely nice guy. It is stated that he just returned from a trip to Rome, as someone on another blog put it, "there is no better time to be called home than after a trip to Rome", the Eternal City. Before people get up in my face about being annoyed that he was a democrat and Catholic here is my reasoning.

Catholic teaching: abortion is wrong no matter what
Democrats are strongly pro-abortion
therefore a Catholic should not be a democrat, notice I did not say can not, but only should not, though I do lean more towards can not. These are my thoughts take them or leave them, don't go leaving comments if you disagree, you are not going to change my mind and I more than likely will not change yours.

Too many people look at abortion as a simple issue and lump the pro-life movement into this whacked out sect of Christianity. Abortion is always wrong not matter what, war while not the best or greatest of options is not always wrong, there are time when it can help. Just look up the just war theory.

Anyway, my prayers go out the Russert family, especially Tim's wife, and son as they return home from Rome and have to grieve publicly. I can only imagine the heartache of knowing that Tim was in the US while there were in Rome, how would they know that that good-bye in Rome would be there last.

Rest in Peace Tim Russert.

Fox News has a nice story on him as do most of the other news stations. We had MSNBC on before we left for the feast at the parish and I can honestly say it was one of the few times I could handle listening to Keith Olbermann. I give the anchors at NBC credit for getting on the air and being able to handle a friend and colleague dying literally at work. 58 is young to die, not as young as I have unfortunately had to see and deal with, but still young none the less. Mr. Russert lived life and seemed to enjoy it.

Eternal Rest grant unto him O Lord,
Let perpetual light shine upon him
may his soul and the souls of the faithfully departed
rest in the Mercy of Christ.
Amen.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

This is what I do...

I read, hear, or see something that pisses me off, I then blog about it, so it doesn't sit and brood in me all day long, because if it does, the last post is what happens. Cursing left and right and just an over all pissy over tone. Just let me be, I'm entitled to my opinion as much as you are.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The one place I thought...

I would be able to speak my mind and thoughts has been breeched. I can't even blog about how I feel, because someone out there in cyber-land will assume that I am inferring something that I never have or that I'm something because of what I said. I am fully aware that people are entitled to their comments and free speech, but this is my f-ing blog, I am allowed to say whatever the hell I want. Don't come into my house accusing me of shit that I am not.

I am not pro-murder because I am pro-military. Stop fucking blaming Bush for every damn thing that is "wrong" with this country. The House and Senate are the law makers, blame their asses, but that's right it's just easier to blame one man for everything. As a Christian I am called to take care of others, that's not limited to only the United States. I'll try to cut out the cursing before I am accused of being a hypocrite again as a Christian is apparently supposed to be perfect. Sorry, I'm not, nor will I ever be despite my quest to be perfect.

How is it that the blog that I just put up to simply say one should vote pro-life get two comments from random people, and the well thought out blog below it, the open letter to Mr. Obama they don't comment on. Oh right because my "one issue voter" status is all about abortion vs. their one issue of "BUSH SENT US TO WAR, WAR WAR WAR, it's all his fault"

Yes abortion is the top issue for me, because I believe that if one thinks killing a DEFENSELESS human being is right or correct, then I can not vote for them, regardless of their political affiliation.

I need to ask Fr. Matt for his notes from his pro-military, pro-just war presentation he gave to the parish.

That's right no comments allowed on this one, kiss my white Irish American ass. I don't need you aggravating me over something I never said.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

As I was checking my e-mail this headline came up. "Pro-Life Catholics Shouldn't Back Barack Obama Because He's Pro-Abortion" It's such a simple statement and it irks me to no end how many "Catholics" will vote for Barack Hussein Obama. The words "Pro-Life" and Catholic are one in the same, if one is Catholic one is pro-life end of story and when people begin to realize that, there won't be an issue. Murder is never an option!

Catholics are not to be picking and choosing what teachings they believe, when people are reminded of this from the pulpit they will know. As one of my priests puts it, I can't tell you to vote for, but here's who I'm voting for and why!"

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Open Letter to Mr. Obama

Dear Mr. Obama,

I wish to tell you, that I find your stance on abortion deplorable and utterly offensive to women. When you speak for and to the youth of this country and the women who you wish to give national coverage too, I want you to know that you do not represent me. There is no way in hell that I would vote for a person who believes that killing babies under the guise of abortion and women's rights is correct and morally acceptable. Rest assured that I will do everything in my power to not, that's right NOT get you elected. I will pray that your Christian heart is turned so that you can see how evil abortion is. Don't expect me to believe a word that comes out of your mouth. It is insulting to believe that someone who was given the right to live by his own mother would turn and tell a woman what to do with her body. That's right I'm turning the classic pro-abortion argument back on the movement, Planned Parenthood was created to get rid of "your people" aka the blacks in this country. Yes, Margaret Sanger was a racist and wanted to see the African-American population killed off, hence why Planned Parenthood killing centers are usually found in inner-city neighborhoods.

I also find it absurd that one day you would be behind your pastor and the next day resign from your church as if it was some political office. Religion is not something to toss around lightly, especially a belief in Christ and His teachings.

May God have mercy on you, me and this country for what it is doing.

Sincerely,
A concerned 28 year old female

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Open Letter to Disney

I'm thinking of writing a letter to Disney...

Dearest dumb asses at Disney,

Do not fuck with the Narnia movies again. If you do you shall forfeit the right to my money being spent on going to see the next installment.

Sincerely,
A concerned C. S. Lewis Fan

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Narnia

So i went to see Prince Caspian with Bridget, Ron and their niece Stacie.

While it was a good movie, I was very disappointed in what Disney did to the story. CS Lewis did an unbelievable job in witting these stories, they do not need to be embellished upon. I spent most of the movie saying "what the hell, stop messing with my story."

The three adults in attendance was amused by the fact we were the only ones laughing during the movie, me thinks we were the only 3 there who had read the books. I should give props to Fr. Z for forewarning me that I might be disappointed and I happened to find an interesting article about Lucy and St. Therese, which when you think about it, you can see quite well how those two are similar. Both priest on my blog role on the side, Fr. Z is the author of the blog called What Does The Prayer Really Say and Fr. Father Dwight Longenecker is the author of the blog called Standing On My Head, both are interesting blogs and made for good reading.

There is more to come on this, as I have to go back to the book and check certain aspects of what pissed me off in the movie. By reading Caspian before the movie and being annoyed at the movie, I am reminded of what I didn't read Return of the King before I saw the movie, because I was upset by how awesome the book was for Two Towers and how one part of the movie involving Aragon admitting he is king was so wicked in the book and so cheaply and horribly done in the movie.

Oh well I am off to bed for now, more to come on Prince Caspian, for now I leave you with "I am Prince Caspian the Tenth, you killed my father, prepare to die." No, that line does not appear in the movie, but a scene in it makes you flash back to the Princess Bride.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Cornerstone 2009

So I better get back to work on that faith journey journal/blog I was posting a while back. I got picked to be a witness aka a talk giver. This should be interesting.

Corpus Christi

Fr. Brian's homily was wicked awesome on the feast of "The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ" which sounds so much nicer in Latin Corpus Christi. Father started his homily off by giving us stories from his childhood that evoked summer, as it was the "unofficial" beginning of summer this past weekend. The first story told how Fr. Brian had heard the Good Humor truck going by signing it's usual song, he continued with how it brought back memories of when he was a child and he would tell his brother "you stop the truck, I'll get the money." Now to get the money that his father had up high so the kids wouldn't get it, Fr. Brian as a child would have to climb up on a chair and then stand on the arm of the chair to actually reach the money on top of the dresser. The congeration gave it's approval of the story by laughing when necessary.

The next story was about how when driving one day, he smelt the familiar smell of a BBQ, which officially meant summer was here or at the very least warm weather was here. Fr. Brian went on to say, these things bring good thoughts and memories to us. The next example he gave was simply, "Sunday Mass" and he was greeted with what he expected the "no Mass doesn't bring warm happy fuzzy feelings to me." Fr. Brian must have missed my ear to ear grin, because I love Sunday Mass, anyway, Father said point blank, "well it should bring happy thoughts to you."

Fr. Brian continued by saying that, "Mass, Eucharist, is the single most important thing we do each week." Again many just stared at him, and I sat there with an even bigger grin than before, because here was a priest ordained literally 5 years and 1 day telling people point blank this is why we're Catholic, this is the most important thing you do each week.

I don't remember all of his homily, but I do remember the passion that was in the homily, the fire that was in his words, to the point where he was chastising the congregation but not really. Fr. Brian reminded us to not be a spectator, and it reminded me of the shirt that says Catholicism: not a spectator sport. Since Easter Fr. Brian has been asking us to bring a friend to church, if possible bring someone who's away from the Church back home. He reminded us that Mass does not change from week to week simply because it doesn't need to. As Fr. Brian put it Jesus just may be perfect and doesn't need to change, maybe it's us that needs to change. We need to be open to what happens at the Eucharistic table.

Fr. Brian finished with "some day Christians will unite," and then he quoted from John's Gospel which also was the Gospel of the day, "Jesus said, 'Unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood you shall not have life within you." As I heard the Gospel proclaimed I thought, Man I should have worn my Top 10 reasons shirt. I know I don't need a shirt to remind me why I'm Catholic I just like the looks I get when I wear my crazy Catholic shirts.

Fr. Brian told us to come back each week to feed our souls, the beginning of his homily dealt with death and souls, and he beautifully moved into the Eucharist being food, nourishment for our souls. We were told to mess with our friends or someone who asks us what our favorite food was by answering "I'm Catholic, my favorite food is the supernatural bread and wine for my soul, oh yeah and hamburgers too." Of course he got the chuckle from the pews, but it's true, Jesus should be our favorite food.

I knew from once I met Fr. Brian that I liked him, I change that now to I love him. He has yet to give me a crappy homily, and he's personable, you can talk to him, he'll ask you questions, and he takes such care of his sacred vessels and the Communion particles after he receives that it makes me tear up with tears of joy.

I've always been a Eucharistic-ly orientated person, this was brought to my attention during my time as SHU when I would sit weekly at Adoration. However, Adoration is not what made me appreciated being Catholic. One Easter I let my friend Matt, a Protestant, join my family for the celebration as SHU was quite picky about closing and when one had to be back, so Matt decided that going home to New Hampshire wasn't an option, so I said come to my place, as residents had to be off campus. Since I had taken Matt to Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday services for the Tridium and again on Easter Sunday, I decided I would return the favor by attending a service with him when we returned to SHU. So one Sunday morning we walked down the street to the church he went to while at school. Matt pointed out to me all the Catholic things I wanted to do, like bless myself, genuflect, and whatnot. I never questioned leaving the Catholic Church, I did question why I went to Mass, but I would never just stop going to Mass. The service that I went to with Matt was missing something, they sang songs, read from the Bible and prayed, but something was missing. I went to Mass that night and as soon as I walked into the Chapel I thought, that's what was missing, JESUS, Jesus was missing from that church. Literally, He was missing, there was no True Presence in that Church. I went to Mass that night so grateful to be Catholic.

We are doing as Jesus told us in John's Gospel and yes it seems weird that Jesus basically told us, "eat me", but that's what makes it a mystery, we won't understand it, and as Fr. Geoff said on the feast of the Most Holy Trinity, if I can explain the mystery of the Trinity to you, I'm doing you a great disservice. The same can be said for the Eucharist, I can't explain how it happens, I can tell you "in persona Christi" until I'm blue in the face, but we'll never understand it until we are in Heaven celebrating the best Mass ever!

I am proud to be Catholic and to believe in the Eucharist, and by the grace of God may that never change!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

youth rally

the youth rally at my parish rocked.

Fr. Geoff Rose is awesome! Andy Cloninger is just as awesome! I know that Fr. Geoff doesn't like the word awesome, but I can't think of another word to describe them.

More to come on the youth rally later, and some pics too. I just wanted to start the blog before I forgot about it.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Pentecost 2008

I heart my bishop! His homily rocked, he spoke of the Holy Spirit moving us to live life correctly, in economics, politics and what not and how we should not separate what we believe from how we live/behave. He spoke of respecting all life, unborn, terminally ill, poor... and I was beaming.

He also spoke of vocations and how when he comes in October he wants 6 young men from the parish to be ready to enter the seminary and at least as many young women to enter religious life.

I love my bishop!!!!!

More to come after the Mother's Day celebration, I didn't want to forget what the homily was about. :)

Edit/update, I didn't forget about the Bishop's homily or visit, I've have had a busy week.

I enjoy watching the madness that surrounds the Bishop's visit. You would honestly think the Pope was coming with all the details that need to be dealt with. So you add a few extra servers and tell the EMs they have to step down. Bishop Serratelli checks on his parishes to make sure they are doing what they are supposed to be doing. I think one week he just needs to stop by and hang out in "the back of the Church" so he can what really happens. He's not stupid he knows that you had extra things for him or at least I would hope he does.

I am hoping to get a copy of his homily, because as I sat there I said to myself oh I so wish I could get a copy of that homily. Maybe I will get a copy and then I can post it and make comments on it.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Thanks, giving, oops and wow

Those are the four types of prayer according to Fr. Brian in his wonderful homily this Sunday.

Thanks: thank you God for...
Giving: give me____ God
Oops: forgive me Lord for...
Wow: Wow God

Fr. Brian told us he would speak about Prayer and the Eucharist and like usual it was an awesome homily. In my years of actually paying attention to the homilies, meaning from College on, I have yet to find a priest like Fr. Brian where I actually remember his homilies. Fr. Bill comes in at a close second, Fr. George is slowing dropping in the ranks, but he is still up there.

Fr. Brian had a great tie-in of Prayer and Eucharist and First Holy Communion. It is so easy to see that he is a man of prayer and how much he cares for the Eucharist. Watching him "clean" his paten after consuming Jesus is a joy, he takes the time to wipe the particles into the ciborium and is just simply a joy to watch celebrate Mass.

more to come when I don't have 500 things on my mind, such as "it is wrong that all the jobs I might be qualified for, are not appealing to me."

Although "jobs are not appealing to me" is still on my mind along with other things, I decided to continue my thoughts on Fr. Brian's homily from 5/4/08.

I went to Mass on Sunday half expecting to hear the same homily I got last week on the Lion King and Jesus, I was thankful to see that Fr. Brian had the Noon Mass. That meant I was getting Fr. Brian homily, and I love his homilies. Fr. Brian spoke about the mentioned types of prayer, which he "came up with" on his own, and tied each one of them into the Mass. He was thankful for the kids making their First Holy Communion, for being at Church for his family, for the church of St. Anthony's, for Mass. Next came the "give me" prayers you know give me this, give me that, followed by the oops I made a mistake prayers. When speaking about the oops prayer Fr. Brian said, "not one of is ever far enough away that we can't come back to the Church." I may not have gotten it word for word, but his point was/is that not one of us is perfect that we all make mistakes, and we can all come back to the Church. This point should have been taken by some of the people, I was going to say parents, but that's too judgmental, in attendance, as it was obvious that some had not been to Mass in quite some time. The last section of prayer was the wow prayer, where Father pointed out the simple wow factor of prayer. He almost at once moved in to the Eucharist being the ultimate form of prayer.

How right he is, the Eucharist, the celebration of Mass is the "best prayer" we have. To hear the words "best prayer" and "Eucharist" come out of a priests mouth makes me want to jump for joy. I'd jump for a job too like I almost wrote. I wish I remember the actual ending of the homily because I thought, that was awesome! Fr. Brian continued on with the rest of Mass, coaching as necessary for those that hadn't been to Church/Mass in a while. I remember thinking, "oh good he didn't use the dumbed down version of the Eucharistic prayer." as he began the Eucharistic prayer. It irks me that people assume children can't understand the "big" words that are used in the Eucharistic prayer. I've heard the same prayers over and over again, did I get them at first as a child, no I probably didn't, but I still knew what happened when the priest said the words of the Consecration.

Fr. Brian has a very no nonsense style when it comes to saying Mass and I love it. Some priests like to ad-lib some of the words of the prayer, and for the most part it's ok, it won't kill me to think of it a different way, but Fr. Brian does not or at least very rarely deviates from the Rubrics. I can't put into words what this means to and for me. I am utterly speechless when it comes to describing my feelings about it. It's nice to not feel like the lone "conservative" on the Liturgy Committee anymore. I know that whether or not we actually say something, that for the most part we are thinking the same way.

Fr. Brian arrived to St. A's in September, that December I opted to go to the "new one" for Confession, Lent came and I let Confession slide, but the Cornerstone retreat took care of that and after much deliberation in my head about whether to go to Fr. George or Fr. Brian I chose Fr. Brian, and I am glad I have chosen him. I don't know why but I feel like Fr. George has stopped caring about what I have to say. Depending on the event or Mass Fr. George makes a point to say hi, Fr. Brian on the other hand will throw in a comment or two. Take the Easter Vigil when Fr. Brian told me I looked beautiful. Not the first time I've had an ordained man tell me I'm beautiful, but it still amuses me. It reminds me that they are human and well so am I. ;)
Fr. George typical of a guy didn't notice when I highlighted my hair, or if he did, he didn't say anything. Fr. Brian asked if I had changed my hair, I responded with yes, and if Fr. George wasn't in the room and if I knew Fr. Brian a bit better would have shot back a hair comment to bald man. Fr. Brian like Fr. Kevin takes the time to see what's going on. He'll remind me that he's praying for whatever I need. Fr. Brian reminds of why I like St. Therese, said, "if only I was a boy, then my vocation would be easy, I'd be a priest." Fr. Brian is one of the many good guys out there and I hope we get to hang on to him for awhile at St. A's, we need him.

Monday, May 5, 2008

I find it strangely amusing

that politicians complain about what Washington is doing. Umm, last time I check Mrs. Clinton, and Mr. Obama were/are apart of the Washington they are complaining about.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Sometimes I wonder

I really do wonder sometimes why I have been given the graces that I have been given. It makes me happy that so many kids and teens are making their First Holy Eucharist and Confirmation this time of year, but it pains me to no end to watch the priest tell the congregation what to do, when to stand, when to kneel and when to sit. The Celebrant should not have to say, "please kneel in preparation for Communion." It was great to see all the little ones receive the Eucharist for the first time, but it was painful to watch how they actually received Jesus. Many of them seemed to have no idea what was happening, and it caused me to wonder, did you ever practice with them. Use a nilla wafer, a wheat thin, a ritz cracker, something to get them used to the action of receiving Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament. It pained me more to watch adults not know how to receive Communion, to watch a teenager take a host and walk back to the pew with It as if it was something to keep and look at.

Thankfully I have spent time talking to Fr. Brian about my quest of perfection. I know I'm not perfect yet for some reason I strive to be perfect and to have every Mass I go to be perfect. I have started to "offer up" these little imperfections as I see them. Before my cousin's Confirmation this afternoon, I just sat there and said, "Cardinal Cooke, lead me by your example and help me to offer it up for the souls of Purgatory." I did the same thing at the Papal Mass, and it helps. I still Mass to be perfect, I want the people next to me to know what they are doing and when to sit, stand and kneel, I want them to be quiet, but alas it doesn't happen all the time.

At my cousin's party I somehow got stuck in the corner of the "old people" table, my parents, and my aunts and uncles were at it and the topic of discussion was Obama and Hillary and eventually moved into Guiliani and Cardinal Egan. I can't understand why "good Catholics" which is such a stupid term, one is either Catholic or not, will make blanket statements like "Bush ruined the country," or even think of voting for a democrat. Abortion is a grave evil, it is the murder of an innocent human being who has done nothing. I can't see why these Irish immigrants won't look past the idea that Bill Clinton did so much for Ireland, and Bill Clinton did this and Bush hasn't done anything to legalize the Irish. Maybe those dipshits shouldn't have overstayed their visa, Ireland is a country that is well off, they would not be returning to a country that would not be able to offer jobs and what not.

I know that I am a "one issue" voter, I can't see how someone over looks a 100% rating from NARAL or a 100% por-abortion voting record. The excuse my father likes to use is, well plenty of catholics are pro-choice or are doing this or doing that. Normally response is, "well if the Bishops and priests had some guts and weren't afraid of speaking the truth, that wouldn't be an issue." Well if they are pro-choice they have in essence excommunicated themselves, and I'm tired of people calling themselves Catholic and picking and choosing what they want to believe. Life is so much easier to live when you have rules. The Church as been around for 2,000 years and it's still standing, God most know what He's doing.

Maybe the idea that I'm the black sheep of the family is just weighing on me. So many times I look at my parents who instilled my faith in my and taught me the basics of the Catholic faith and wonder why I am the only one who's upset by certain things. In all the times I have been "let go" from schools or parishes it was never "how nice of you to stand up and defend the Church." it always was "you'll never be able to get a job." Maybe I need to give Archbishop Raymond Burke a call, he'd probably hire me. Just once I want to hear my family say "good job defending the Faith." Case in point, after pointing out to my mother that her own son doesn't go to Church each week and if she thinks they do she's crazy, the response I get is well they try, and when I tell her she should say something to them, the response is "why don't you." Because it's your son mom, yes my neice is my Goddaughter and I will be all over her CCD classes and what's being taught, but my brother is not my responsibility. If I was to ever miss Mass, my mother would be all over it, asking why I didn't go, but she doesn't have to worry about that, because as she puts it. "that's not you." No mom it's the gift of the Holy Spirit and the many graces that God has given to me time and time again.

It's a blessing and curse to love the Church so much and I know I'm not alone out there. I am very thankful for my friendship with Bridget and being able to know that when I bitch and moan about something she'll more than likely agree with me and make me feel normal about it. She wonders where I got the insane intensity to defend the Church, it's probably the Irish in me. I know that Terence Cardinal Cooke's family came from around the same area of Galway as some of my mom's family so, maybe back quite a few generations he and I are related. Maybe it comes from having Cardinal Cooke as my archbishop for almost 3 years, granted I was almost three years old when he died, but my mom spoke about him as I grew so I wanted to know his story and well now I do. Maybe it comes from having John Cardinal O'Connor as my archbishop for almost 10 years, and even when I moved to NJ John J. O'Connor was still my cardinal. It's hard to believe that 8 years ago today, he entered eternal life. I have met many bishops and heard of many cardinals since my days of being in the Archdiocese of NY, but Cardinals Cooke and O'Connor hold a special place in my heart and I think it's their staunch support of the pro-life movement. I talk to them almost daily as they are my Cardinals. At the Papal Mass I couldn't help but miss my Cardinal and my Pope, JP2. Don't get me wrong I love Benedict, but JP2 was pope for the majority of my life. Maybe my insane defense of the Church comes from being named for the Blessed Mother, having Christ as part of my middle name, and for chosing Anne as my Confirmation name or maybe it's simply because I was baptized on the 12th of December, the feast of our Lady of Guadalupe. Who knows what caused it, but it is who I am.

I say it proudly that I am a perfectionist, traditionalist, conservative, young Catholic woman. As my t-shirt says I am proud to be Catholic and I love the rules Holy Mother Church has laid out for us, I just wish more people would come to love them as much as I do.