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.