Wednesday, March 25, 2009

An Interesting Conversation

As I type the title of this blog I have the voice of the "polish priest" from my parish in my head. Fr. Marek came as a temporary vicar while we awaited the arrival of our new pastor. Msgr. Martin McDonnell came to be our pastor this past Thursday, the feast of St. Joseph. Fr. Martin, is off the boat Irish as in was born and raised in Ireland, in the county next to the one my mom is from, which means dad's county isn't too far away either. Oh the "million dollar" question is how long will Fr. Marek be with us. So far he's still here, and it's honestly strange to have 3 priests in the parish again. There were originally 3 priests at the parish when my parents and I moved in and shortly after that just two which is what we have had for a while now. Fr. Martin said the 12:05pm Mass on Monday and Tuesday, and I was beginning to wondering of Fr. Marek was still around, well he is, he said the 12:05pm Mass on Wednesday. He was greatly amused that Mary, myself, was reading on the feast of Mary. He gave a very short homily, with his accent and sitting in the first pew of the church, it was hard to understand it fully. For some reason our microphone system causes hearing issues, well more being able to understand the speaker fully issues, in the first 5 pews.

Anyway, I was walking out after Mass and Fr. Marek stopped to say hi and then asked about the retreat (our Women's Cornerstone retreat was over the weekend) how it went, how team is picked. Then he asked what I studied, and I said I was a religious studies major at Seton Hall and that I was thinking of going back either for theology, nursing, or taking a campus ministry position. Somehow the topic of me taking over youth ministry at the parish came up, I pointed out that our youth minister, Jen, is quite capable and does a good job. The topic of young adult ministry came up as well and I said Fr. George, our former pastor knew that was my soap box issues, I said I'd talk to the new pastor once he got settled instead of bombarding him with the issue right now. We continued on with how I was a part of the youth ministry program under Fr. Geno who is now in charge of Evangelization for the Diocese. The main point of that conversation was that Fr. Geno might know his stuff, which he does, but how with the letters STD (from Rome) after his name his statements hold more clout. I mentioned that I run into that all the time by not having my Masters degree. I was told to go study and get the letters after my name and that I should get young adult ministry started at my parish.

The rest of the conversation involved Fr. Marek asking me "who's the young strapping man that sits next to you at Mass?" I said oh that's Jerry, we do youth ministry together. Fr. Marek responded with, "oh just youth ministry, nothing more." I said no, Jerry's a junior at Seton Hall and has a girlfriend. Fr. Marek very quickly offered a "we'll have to get rid of her." I said no, I like her, she can stay. I nearly added that there is a young man closer to my age that I like, but I didn't. I went out to my car and texted Jerry because that story was just too funny.

However Fr. Marek's comments got me thinking, and my drive out to Harrisburg almost 2 weeks ago, a nearly 6 hour drive total will get you thinking, especially when you usually take that drive with your friend and discuss your life with her. It got me thinking of do I ask Fr. Martin to create a position for Confirmation and Young Adult Ministry or do I just let Confirmation fall under religious education. Our youth minister is currently the confirmation director as well, but she's a week away from having her first child, so I'm pretty sure she's only coming back for youth ministry next year. If I could somehow manage a way to get the Confirmation director position, added in with young adult ministry and well pro-life ministry, it could warrant a "full-time" salary with benefits, and maybe the diocese could pay for my Masters degree. My only issue is how do I ask my parish to pay me.

I always come up with great scenarios and then just let it bypass me or settle or something else. The more I try to get away from ministry the more I get pulled into it. After the retreat, and then having 8th graders ask me questions about the Passion of the Christ (Mel Gibson's version) and being able to answer then without missing a beat and just having the other "teachers" stare at me reminded that I do know what I'm doing. I just hate having to use a damn textbook to teach it. I don't want to settle for a DRE position, I'd kill the majority of the parents out there for not giving a damn about being Catholic. I don't blame the kids, it's hard to when Mom and Dad don't do crap to show them how to be Catholic. I have 8th graders who hardly know the traditional prayers of the Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be.

I hate when I get into this mood and don't know what to do with it. I'm reminded of how I wish to take the vocations stories of the priests that affected my life and put it into a book similar to Called by Name: The Inspiring Stories of 12 Men Who Became Catholic Priests by Dr. Christine Anne Mugridge, Jerry Usher.

I've been told I have a gift of writing. Fr. Brian heard my talk on the retreat and the first thing he said to me was "Catechism and personal stories, wow!" I've been giving retreat talks since I was in college, well high school, so it's almost second nature for me. I know it's a gift, I just wish I could use it more than I am.

Oh well I'm off to bed as I am going to visit my friend and her family in Albany today, about time my goddaughter got a visit from me.

Notre Dame part 2

God Bless these organizations and the students involved in them. Some of the student organizations at Notre Dame have issued their own statement in regards to Obama being picked as commencement speaker and honorary degree recipient.

I only skimmed the letter, but what stuck out the most for me was this section.

"Additionally, Fr. Jenkins has placed some of his students in a moral dilemma as to whether they should attend their own graduation. Many pro-life seniors, along with their families, are conflicted about whether to participate in the commencement ceremony. The lack of concern for these devoted sons and daughters of Notre Dame, who love this University and the Catholic principles on which it was built, is shameful."

As someone who fought with Seton Hall Administration for certain things, I know the place these students are in. For me to have to decided to not go to my own graduation would suck. I had my graduations from Seton Hall. I watched my friends receive their diplomas without me, while I walked the next year. I often took no notice as to whom the speaker was for the year. I was simply there for my handshake as we didn't even get our "piece of paper" at our ceremony. However I did not have to make the decision to not attend my graduation. I know if I was a student at Notre Dame that I would be one of those students not attending their own graduation. That's totally unfair for the families who sent their child to Notre Dame for a good education. Really who's the graduation for if not for the students.

Oh well, at least this is finally in the main stream media and who knows what will come from it. Maybe Obama will say "you know it's probably better if I don't come" but I don't see that happening.

Oh well I am off to finish crocheting a blanket for Baby Matthew.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Notre Dame

The past week I've been busy with Cornerstone and other things, so I'm just catching up on reading some blogs. Apparently Notre Dame had decided to toss all of it's Catholic identity out the door and have Obama as their commencement speaker this year.
Here is the link to sign the petition to stop this insanity. Go sign it and pass it along, the numbers are growing quite quickly.

In case the link doesn't work, cut and paste this:
http://www.notredamescandal.com/SignthePetitiontoFrJenkins/tabid/454/Default.aspx

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Discernment

Discernment is normally a word associated with vocations and trying to figure out what one's vocation. Interestingly enough I did just e-mail the Vocations Offices of the Archdiocese of New York, the Archdiocese of Newark and the Diocese of Paterson for info for work. I'm planning on making my last large group session for Confirmation on Vocations. The kids want me to talk about Heaven, God, and abortion. All three topics and work themselves into vocations and I'll find a way to do it. The title I'm planning on is CCD is over, what now! Expanding on the idea that Confirmation is not CCD graduation that it is a sacrament and an important one. So many of the students are so misinformed when it comes to abortion, and the faith that there is no way I can completely undo the damage of the past 8 years of their lives, I can attempt to correct it and I have, but it's not enough in my opinion.

I am in the process of leaving paid Church ministry as almost every time I have worked for a church, I've been disappointed with whom I am working with. So often I find myself as the lone conservative or traditionalist on the staff and I'm tired of it. I'm looking at nursing schools which amuses me as look at the Bishops threatening to close Catholic hospitals should FOCA pass and because I started at Seton Hall as a nursing major. I know I've probably blogged about this before, but it's what is on my mind at the moment.

Oh well, the child I babysit needs help getting dressed. I'll be back later after I've done my CCD plans for tonight.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Cornerstone "09

So later on this month is the Women's Cornerstone Retreat at my parish and I've been asked to give one of the talks. I have no problem with the retreat or being asked to give a talk. I think a retreat now matter how "good" or "bad" can affect your life. What I don't get is the phone call asking for me to cut my talk down. I get that my talk is a little long, but I was never given a time limit or hell even a topic until a few weeks before I was to give my practice talk. I'm used to having my talk from the beginning of being on team, not just being told, "tell your story." I don't get the petty comments of how this is our retreat and blah blah blah.

I love the ladies of the parish, but seriously if you want it to be a good retreat allow me to help fix it. I've run many retreats and yes I am biased, but I've seen retreats work and I've seen retreats fail. I'm fully aware that my theology knowledge way beyond those that are on the retreat with me, but that doesn't mean we can't up the God knowledge.

Oh well, maybe I just need some food and caffeine. Back to "work" I go.

Lent- how am I doing- week one

So far so good, I guess. I missed saying the Rosary on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, so I just said a full one on Tuesday. I didn't get to Mass on Saturday, but that's to be expected as it hard to find a parish that Mass at anytime other than 7am on a Saturday. I have yet to use my phone for the internet and games. I actually deleted the games from my phone, hopefully this will save me some money on the cell phone bill.

I easily could have fallen into the Sunday doesn't count and used my phone for the internet while I was at the Archdiocese of Newark's Youth Fest, but I opted to not use it, and I'm glad I did.

As for less procrastination, I'm working on it, but it's not as good as I thought it would be.

Ovbiously I went to Mass on Sunday and since I had a snow day on Monday I went to St. Anthony's at 12:05pm on Monday and Tuesday. Which leaves me wonder where I want to go this evening. Either Queen of Peace or Immaculate Conception as they have a 5:30pm Mass, it will all depend on what time I leave my babysitting job. If it's at 5 or later I'll just skip Mass and go to the Holy Hour at St. Anthony's tonight.

Not to bad. I type this as I babysit so it may not be too coherent as I'm tying to make sure the 3 year old doesn't steal my cell phone which is sitting on my lap, and I have to pay attention to all the commericals he said "I want that" to.

More to come later