Review: “Around the Year with the Von Trapp Family”

When I was a child my favorite movie was the The Sound of Music. I think being an only child, living with just my mother, made me appreciate a large, loving, two-parent family enormously. My favorite book, Cheaper By The Dozen, about a fun-loving family of twelve children, settles it.

Maria Von Trapp, the mother of the large family in The Sound of Music, wrote her book of memoirs that the movie was based on, The Story of the Trapp Family Singers in 1946. Author of several books, she has an exuberant writing style that is natural, pulls you in, and makes you want to be right there in the action.

Originally from Austria, the family who were a very talented folk singing group, fled during World War II to escape the Nazis and came to America in 1938. The family built, mostly on their own, a large home in rural Vermont, and a lodge for visitors to stay and hear their concerts. They toured the world singing, and some, including Maria, became Catholic missionaries to Papua New Guinea. They were always on the go and had seemingly endless energy. Once they decided on a project, whether it was a family singing tour, building a barn, clearing land, or creating a restaurant, they all pitched in and got it done in short order.

In 1955, Maria published “Around the World With the Trapp Family.” She wrote about how their family lived their Catholic faith in Austria throughout the year. I’ve read a few of her books, but this has been long out of print. Sophia Institute Press, has now republished it, so this wonderful Catholic life can be enjoyed by everyone.

My first impression upon receiving it was that this is one substantial book. Hardcover and beautifully printed, this book is meant to be kept for years, and meant to be used all through the year.

The contents follow the liturgical year, explaining the seasons and why we celebrate them. Each feast day is lovingly explored with songs and music, recipes, and simple crafts, along with wonderful memories of Catholic family life in Austria before WWII.

A separate section elaborates on how to celebrate each Sacrament within the family, anniversaries, birthdays and other special family moments, including how to handle sickness and death within the family. There is a definite focus on the spiritual life and the life beyond. I found the section on how they actually lived Sundays to be particularly significant in our culture that treats Sunday with no sense of the sacred. 

What is so lovely about this book is that Maria explains the faith and how to incorporate it into your family’s life so beautifully. It makes one long for a time past when faith was seamlessly woven into the tapestry of the community. We can, at least, weave it into our own family’s life now. It would be great to start the New Year with this book.

I really enjoyed it and recommend it to you. Sophia Institute Press is having a 25% off sale for Christmas, but you have to act on it now. Use the
Use Discount Code radio25 when ordering the book using this link:

Join the Pope in Prayer & Make Church History!

For the first time in the Catholic Church’s 2000 year history the pope has asked all parishes and their members around the world to join him in Eucharistic Adoration at the same day and time. As part of the Year of Faith, this Sunday, June 2, 2013 at 5pm Rome time (11am Eastern Time) – the Solemnity of Corpus Christi – all Catholics are called to join Pope Francis in prayer for one hour before the Blessed Sacrament. The cathedrals of the world will be synchronized in prayer with the Pope. Your parish may have organized a specific event for it, but may have had to move it to another time because of Mass schedules. Check your diocesan website.

I am excited as our Archbishop has planned a Eucharist procession, then a Mass to celebrate Corpus Christi and then the hour of Adoration at 11am. What an extremely powerful prayer to Christ. And what a wonderful Pope we have been blessed with. It was so impressive that directly after his election as Pope, Francis spent a great deal of time in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament before coming out to be presented to the crowds outside St. Peter’s Square. He really values this form of prayer and so should we.

For more information, and for all the Pope’s requested intentions, please read:
Pope To Lead Millions in Global Hour of Adoration
Vatican Organizes Worldwide Simultaneous Eucharistic Adoration 
Pope Francis to Lead Global Holy Hour
Adoration With Pope Energizing Catholics Worldwide

Update: A friend of mine (Thanks, Kim!) reminded me that for those who cannot attend Adoration at their parish or cathedral, you can, if you really have to, participate online with an online Adoration chapel like these:

Savior.Org Webcam
Chapel Webcam, St. Martin of Tours Church, Louisville, KY (just lovely!)

Update 2: Some parishes also post their Adoration times at:

Also: Video – What is the Point of Eucharistic Adoration?

Six Reasons Why Pope Francis Should Not Scare Traditionalists

Cardinal Bergoglio on the subway.

For many years I have belonged to a Catholic mother’s group online. One of our members was distressed over an article in her local paper saying that Traditionalists in the Catholic Church will be put down by the new Pope Francis because he is more concerned with the poor than with liturgical reform, and that he will undo all the corrections made by the last two popes. Here is my reply that I have extended for the blog. This is actually the second time I’m trying to post this since Blogger lost my post with all my numerous links and additions. I sprinkled the computer with Holy Water so we will give it go.

1st – Don’t believe what is in the secular press. They have agendas and one of those is to smack down traditionalists/conservatives and make them feel powerless. Many secular outlets just print what they want to have happen, thinking if they say it enough it will. Stick to outlets you know are reputable like the National Catholic Register, EWTN, most Catholic Radio like Ave Maria Radio, etc.  There are lots of good blogs out there too. Like The Anchoress (my favorite commenter on secular goings on) and many others. Look at my blog list for more great blogs.

2nd – I think the Pope is authentically Catholic and a good example to everyone. While the “social justice” Catholics are thrilled, I’m sure they are not thrilled at his teachings which are solidly Catholic. He has mentioned evil in the world, he says we should not be afraid to die for our protection of the unborn, he is against the redefinition of marriage, and against “Catholic” pro-abortion  politicians taking Communion, etc.

3rd – He is primarily a pastor, not an academic. We have had two popes now that have been working on curing the abuses in the liturgy, etc. Now it is time to stress compassion and love because that is what the world needs now. (Cue the music!) With so much economic strife abound, which WILL get worse especially
with so many quasi-socialist (and not so quasi socialist) leaders in the West, we all may be needing charity soon.

4th – We on the traditional side need to realize that the Church needs to “breathe with two lungs” and I’m not talking about getting the Orthodox to get back on board the train. I mean the “Traditional” and the “Social
Justice” wings of the Church need to get together and start talking to each other again and working together again. I think there are many on the traditional side who are like Pharisees, we have been fighting against so
many abuses since Vatican II that any little quirk must be smacked down immediately to prevent “liberal” intrusion. Well, all that does is make traditionalists look uncaring about people’s needs and pushes people away. (Why do you think the Dems won this last election? – because Romney looked uncaring toward the 47% or whatever.) Yes, we don’t want x, y or z to happen, BUT we can uphold Catholic teaching and not scream about something minor like whether the Pope washed the feet of a woman. Yes, I know, to some that is not minor, but to 99.9% of the people it is. As someone who had their feet washed by the priest on Holy Thursday several years ago, I found it extraordinarily profound and deeply moving. Now, if the Church says that the symbolism is important and only men should get their feet washed to promote the priestly vocation, that is fine with me, but it seems that the Pope has his reasons for what he did.

5th – And we can start talking about the poor, the unwashed, the hungry. Yes, I know we traditionalists care about those groups – but online at least we certainly don’t show it. In my travels online I don’t see anything about feeding the hungry.  If you go to the “social justice” side’s media, like the heretical National “Catholic” Reporter and liberal blogs, they do cover that (along with promoting women priests, bad nuns, and liturgical dance.)  They talk about their soup kitchens, their fixing up people’s houses, etc. Their nuns in sweatsuits and pantsuits are out there showing compassion along with their daily dose of promoting women priests and “gay marriage.”

The Traditional side though does not show their compassion that much. Just the other day I was reading a blog post on a blog I had not seen before. The blogger was taking Abby Johnson to task because he thought she was being pro redefinition of marriage. Abby Johnson ran a Planned Parenthood clinic and one day was called to assist an abortion. She was profoundly changed and converted to Catholicism and wrote a book,
Unplanned, about the abortion business. She also started an apostolate to help clinic workers break free from the industry, called “And Then There Were None.”

The blogger I spoke about was commenting on a Facebook post Abby Johnson made on March 27th. She was “talking” to those people who are supporting “gay marriage rights” but who are ignoring the unborn, the ones really with rights. The supposed “conservative” blogger lambasted her for a “pro-gay marriage” stance (which I don’t think she took) and mentioned that she should stop coddling the abortion clinic workers, who probably make less than those at Walmart. How shameful.  The clinic workers need compassion and love too, even if they are unlovable – especially if they are unlovable – because they are in the pits of hell and need help to break free.  They need LOTS of help. They don’t need people yelling at them telling them they are unworthy. Would you really want to go to God if his followers hate you?

Well, that is the impression some traditionalists give in the Church. They take political conservatism and apply it to Christianity and it does not work. “Let ’em pull themselves up by the boot straps,” or “those illegals are going to ruin our country,” only goes so far.  Yes, “illegals” are here illegally and something needs to be done, but throwing the lives of their children away solves nothing. It shows to me a hardness of heart.

In my diocese we are blessed with a wonderful bishop. Our diocese has a great deal of illegal immigrants from many countries, who came here very desperate for a variety of reasons. He takes great flak for being
compassionate with them and lobbying the politicians trying to help them. He promotes the true teachings of the church AND tries to help those in most need. I’d call that Catholic.  And that is what the Pope is. He did
not succumb to liberation theology in his country and was pretty much banished to the hinterlands for not doing so. He soldiered on. Doing what was right and not what was popular.  He was not afraid to live a poor life, even though he was a bishop. He took the bus.

What we traditionalists need to do is to start getting out there and showing publicly what many of us are doing in private – feeding the hungry, buying diapers and food for the unwed mother, taking communion to the invalids and sitting there talking with them, singing and playing piano to the nursing home residents (I actually have seen that online, praise God,) holding the hands of the AIDS victims, giving legal aid to immigrants. Not to toot our own horns, but to show people what Christianity is and that we ARE helping and doing things for the needy. Our Church has a deep solid foundation of service but we don’t talk about it, so we look uncompassionate and that effects how our teachings are received. The “left” calls us uncompassionate to pregnant women – and the public, including other nominal Catholics, believe them.

While humility is good, we should be humble in public at this point. It used to be that communities were tight knit and smaller. Everyone knew everyone. When your neighbor took a casserole to the new mother others knew about it. Not anymore. And unfortunately, many Catholics are not charitable.  One woman I know online whose husband has cancer needed help. She was overwhelmed and unfortunately she probably would have gotten more help from the Baptist neighbor than the Catholic one. Most of us know that is true. Catholics have a bad reputation of thinking “the Church” will do it, not us personally. Many of us, of course, are not like that – but many are. We need to show our fellow Catholics that they need to be out there in the trenches too, that is why we need to do things more publicly. And help other Catholics realize even small helps go a long way.

6th – By the pope’s example he will lead more people into the Church and bring fallen away Catholics back where we can properly catechize them. While there is still much to be done to fix the catechizing part in the
Church, we have come a LONG way from just a few years ago and things are really better to teach people what we believe and why. And there are, of course, blogs and online resources that people now turn to first. Will they see compassion and love, or more people worrying about whether the Pope will give abolish communion on the tongue or the Tridentine Mass?

You might find papal biographer George Weigel’s article Meeting Pope Francis to be very helpful in seeing that our new Pope is what we really need right now. The cardinals spent a great deal of time discussing what the Church and our world need at the moment. They know Cardinal Bergoglio. They know he was made a Cardinal by Pope John Paul II. They know what he stands for and they elected him quickly. We need to stop being worried, and take his election to be a sign from God that we need to stop arguing and start evangelizing, and taking care of the poor, which are growing by leaps and bounds.  Look at the amazing strides Pope Francis did just in the first few days of his election with the Orthodox.

This is my humble opinion, for what it is worth. Happy Easter!

The Winnowing

I was at the blog Little Catholic Bubble today and read this.  You should read it too.  It is a quote from Pope Benedict XVI from his book Faith and the Future which the Anchoress comments on, as well:

“The church will become small and will have to start afresh more or less from the beginning.

She will no longer be able to inhabit many of the edifices she built in prosperity. As the number of her adherents diminishes … she will lose many of her social privileges…. As a small society, [the Church] will make much bigger demands on the initiative of her individual members….

It will be hard-going for the Church, for the process of crystallization and clarification will cost her much valuable energy. It will make her poor and cause her to become the Church of the meek…. The process will be long and wearisome as was the road from the false progressivism on the eve of the French Revolution — when a bishop might be thought smart if he made fun of dogmas and even insinuated that the existence of God was by no means certain…. But when the trial of this sifting is past, a great power will flow from a more spiritualized and simplified Church. Men in a totally planned world will find themselves unspeakably lonely. If they have completely lost sight of God, they will feel the whole horror of their poverty. Then they will discover the little flock of believers as something wholly new. They will discover it as a hope that is meant for them, an answer for which they have always been searching in secret.

And so it seems certain to me that the Church is facing very hard times. The real crisis has scarcely begun. We will have to count on terrific upheavals. But I am equally certain about what will remain at the end: not the Church of the political cult, which is dead already, but the Church of faith. She may well no longer be the dominant social power to the extent that she was until recently; but she will enjoy a fresh blossoming and be seen as man’s home, where he will find life and hope beyond death.”

While I was reading this my thoughts ping-ponged back and forth.  The coming trials ahead will be challenging for the faithful to say the least, but the winnowing process will test our faith and those who cannot stomach Catholicism any longer will leave.  Souls will be lost.  This will be a deep tragedy.  But upon this rock is built Christ’s Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.  We may die in the process, literally or figuratively, but the Church will stand.  Christ will win.  We are soldiers in his battle and we have to prepare ourselves for it, which we are already engaged in.

So, prepare yourself with prayer, fasting, charity and deep kindness toward others.  Cut out what is not necessary. Focus on your family, especially the children who someday will be deep in the battle. We have to prepare them, and ourselves, for the coming trial.  The Enemy does not rest, and we cannot either.

How to Come Back to the Faith

In my travels online I came across a blog from a woman who is chronically ill, has not been practicing her faith, yet is interested in enrolling her son in CCD.  Her son is not all that interested. Because of her illness she has a hard time getting to Mass. I decided to comment about how she should be fostering her faith too. I thought I would share it with you. If you know someone who is just starting to come back to the faith this may be a post that you can share with them.

Hi, I found your blog by accident and thought I would comment. I noticed this line “I guess I am just going to have to drag Tyler to church, and soon.” Please don’t think of it as “dragging to church.” Church is an outward sign of God’s love, it is what Christ left behind to help us get the guidance and worship we need to love and get to Him. Sometimes it seems dull, but really it is sublime. The people in the church are not perfect and make mistakes, but God normally uses people as His hands and it leads to making both the person being helped, and the helper, more holy.

Now, in regards to your son: In normal circumstances, most children do not desire to go to church. Just like they don’t want to do their math homework or clean their room, they don’t want to sit in a pew for an hour. This is normal. It is our job to train them that there are some things that we have to do even though we may not understand why. Someday they will understand. For some people that takes longer than we think it will. Your son needs to learn there is a God that is madly in love with him and he needs to foster that relationship. Christianity (and Catholicism in particular) is all about fostering that love relationship. Many times we Christians don’t come across the right way, but that is truly what it is all about. Remember “God is Love” and He wants to shower us with His love and blessings. Taking your kid to church is guiding him in the right direction, not “Forcing it on him.” It is bringing him in contact with the Lord, so He can bestow His blessings.

As a Christian, and Catholic to boot, we are not just called to love, but called to worship the Lord. Actually we are not just called, but commanded to do this: “Keeping the Lord’s Day Holy.” God gives us tons of hours a week, we can give Him back one hour of worship in Thanksgiving, which is what “Eucharist” means.

Let’s start with you and YOUR spiritual life. The first thing you need to work on is your own relationship with God. I know, you only want to get your kid in CCD, why should you work on your spiritual life? Because you need to. God is calling you. He can be sneaky and you wanting your kid to go to Church is probably a call for you too.

I was away from the Church for years because it wasn’t cool to go to Church. Then we had our son and I realized that I should be a good mom and get him baptized and raise him with God. It was also my way of answering the small voice inside me that was calling me to come back, but I had been too worried of people’s opinions of me to come back before. I started taking my baby to church and started building on my own relationship with God. This is not a onetime “Are You Saved?” kind of deal that the Protestants like to push. This is a lifelong relationship, similar to a marriage. There are days when it feels great and others it feels like a burden, but you work on it and over time it grows. God is the perfect one and we are the ones that fall – over and over – but God picks us up, and if we trust in Him he will help us.

The first thing you need to do is start praying. You can use formal prayers if you wish (Our Father, Hail Mary, there are lots and lots of printed prayers around) but better are the prayers from your heart. Talk to God like you talk to a friend – because that is what He is. Tell him your complaints, your frustrations, your problems understanding Him and your relationship with Him. Ask Him for help. Ask Him to show you what to do. Do this in the line at the supermarket, driving around town, when you are cooking dinner, etc. It does not have to be formal.

Next, try to get to Confession. This is a starting thing – get rid of all the baggage you have collected probably most of your adult life and start fresh. Sin weighs us down and makes it harder to move on. Most Confessions happen on Saturday afternoon, but for you, especially since you have not been for probably years and years, call and make an appointment with the priest and go see him. Ask for an hour appointment if possible. If for some reason you get a difficult receptionist (Church office ladies are notorious for being difficult for some reason) or you are uncomfortable in some way, then call another parish. Then you can not only go to Confession without the constraints of time, but you can discuss with the priest your spiritual life in general and how you want to bring your son up in the faith. Here is a Guide to Confession.

After you go to Confession then, IF you can, start going to Mass. You don’t have to dress up in makeup and heels (really I would be shocked if I saw someone really dressed up to go to Mass). Dress as decently (aka, it’s best to be clean) as you can and take it slow. Don’t put strong pressure on yourself and wind up collapsing in the aisle, ok? Perhaps a weekday Mass or an evening “healing Mass” would work for you better. Check out websites of churches in your area for times. is good too. If you can’t swing that, then call the church and ask for Communion to be brought to you. This happens all the time for chronically ill people. A person from the parish comes and brings Communion to you.

If you can’t leave your house, then don’t hesitate – please call the parish and ask for the priest to come see you. Tell them you want Confession and the Eucharist. If for some reason the priest can’t come out, call another parish. Really, priests visit people all the time.

The next thing to do is buy a Bible. Get one you will read, preferably Catholic so it has all the books of the Bible. I really like the New Catholic Answer Bible because it is inexpensive and has a LOT of good information in it. Start in the Gospels (that is Matthew, Mark, Luke or John in the New Testament). Mark is good to start with because it is short and riveting. Read just a little every day and maybe take a couple of minutes to think about what you read and talk to God about it. Make it pleasurable: get comfortable, light a candle, be in a quiet place. But, no pressure, you can read it anywhere.

You may also consider praying the Rosary. Any parish and serious Catholic has probably tons of Rosaries floating around if you don’t own one. You can get one at many places. Here is How to Pray the Rosary if you don’t remember: Ask Our Lady to pray for you. You don’t have to pray the whole thing at once; you can pray a decade at a time if you want.

These are all starting things, baby steps. When you talk to the priest then start asking about help. Help to get your child to CCD and church. Perhaps a mother’s group would be a good starting point. Perhaps he could car-pool with a family. Or maybe call the Director of Religious Education and explain the situation and what would be best to do. ASK, don’t be worried about putting people out. People WANT to help others, but many times don’t know how.

Take it how it best feels for you and foster your relationship with the Lord, and at the same time talk to your son and tell him how important it is for all of you to welcome God into your life. Good books were important in my coming back to the faith. Surprised by Truth is a great book you may like. Catholicism for Dummies is another. I just finished reading a book called Wrapped Up: God’s Ten Gifts for Women that you might like. It is easy to read and one of the authors is chronically ill and talks about how that affects her relationship with God. And you might be interested in my blog, LiveCatholic,net that has lots of resources for Catholics. I don’t get the chance to write very often, but you may find the info there helpful. In fact, I may just post this comment on my blog, so people actually know I’m alive!

Sorry, I didn’t set out to start writing a book, but I hope you will find this helpful and give you ideas on what to do. I’ll be praying for you and you can contact me through my blog if you need help. God Bless!

So, do you have any ideas on welcoming people back into the Church?  What helped you if you are a revert or convert? Do you have any advice for a chronically ill person who wants to come back, or wants to introduce the faith to their children?

I’d Want to Live

My 9-year old son and I just came back from Mass this morning. In the announcements, at the end of Mass, the Respect Life person for our church got up to invite people to an event being held next week, and mentioned a clinic next to a hospital where “they kill babies.” Well, my son and I have not really had a discussion about abortion and he did not really know what that word meant. But he knows what “killing babies” means. He was astonished. “They kill babies in hospitals?” “They are not supposed kill babies in hospitals. They are supposed to help people.” Yes…they are.

He wanted an explanation right away, but we had to at least wait until we go outside the church. I explained that sometimes mommies with babies in their tummies don’t want them, or that they feel they cannot take care of them, so they have a doctor take the baby out of their tummy and kill them. He cannot understand this – and neither can I.

I remember my older son and his reaction to this information, “Why would they want to kill a perfectly good baby?” My youngest had a similar reaction, but what he said today was, “I’d want to live.” What else is there to say.

CMN Here I Come!

Well…I wanted to post last night, but trying to get ready for my flight AND make sure that the family was all ready for my trip took more effort than I anticipated. Mom leaves and everyone is in a dither. But all is set up and I left on the jet plane and now I’m in Dallas!!!!

Dallas is where the Catholic Marketing Network Convention is, as well as the Catholic Writers Conference and SQPN’s Catholic New Media Convention are, all at once and all in one place, the Arlington Convention Center. I hope to rub shoulders with some of my favorite people like Lisa Hendey, Fr. Jay Finelli (the iPadre) and one of my favorite Catholic bloggers, Jennifer Fulweiler of Conversion Diary. My other favorite blogger Simcha Fisher won’t be here, but I am wowed just the same.

Right now I’m in DFW airport waiting for my friend Gail to arrive and we will go on to our hotel. I had some fantastic Huevos Rancheros, took the cool Skylink train to Gail’s terminal, and NOW I’m using the free public terminals because apparently ATT WiFi for my iPad does not get here until next week. So forgive me for my lack of links and pictures. I haven’t figured out how to do that quickly on the public terminal.

Everyone here in Dallas has been incredibly nice and helpful and the one thing I have noticed is that, at least in the airport, bathrooms are called toilets. As in Women’s Toilet, Men’s Toilet etc. I’ll report if I find any other cultural differences.

Well, I don’t want to be a computer hog and I’ve already been “rebooted” once. I’ll check in hopefully later! Adios!


In light of today’s Supreme Court ruling, I wanted to tell you something that I thought of when I awoke this morning. I think it is important to remember that even though things seem to be getting worse day by day and hour by hour in our society, both here and abroad, we have to remember that God has a plan.

Frequently, when God has a plan things get worse for a long time before things are made better. It seems like human beings don’t really “get it” until something becomes truly horrible – when a true impression is made. Roman society slipped downhill for hundreds of years and it took hundreds more to rebuild from the decadence and hedonism and evil that went on then. That is happening now. And we have to trust God and his plan. With so many fronts being made – refusing conscience clauses, pushing gay marriage, millions of babies dying in abortions, etc. we have to trust God and His plan, and stand firm.

We have to pray and try to see how we as individuals, and as communities and societies, fit into that plan. When even Oreo cookies are against us – and Target, Starbucks, JCPenney, etc. have sided against traditional values, we have to remember that God is in our corner and we have to trust him to lead the fight. So don’t be discouraged, because God is much bigger then the Puppet-with-a-Hidden-Master-Obama, Pelosi, and the like. God is in control.

A Make-Over Needed To Bring Kids to Christ

I was reading a post from one of my favorite priest bloggers Reverend Know-it-All. He has a great blog today about completely re-doing the way they do religious education in his parish. I could have stood and cheered. CCD, the way it is usually done today, does more to push kids away then draw them in and make them want to love Christ and His Church. He wants to completely change it. I wrote him a comment I wanted to share with you. Read his post then come back here! This is what I told him:

Can you hear the applause!!!!!! At least from me. I’m so proud of you to stand up and say what needs to be said.

I grew up in Catholic elementary school until 5th grade and then left for public school and the Kum-bye-ya School of Catechism (aka CCD) in the early 70’s. I learned God is love and pretty little else. I did not know the Eucharist was really not a symbol until my convert mother-in-law told me after I married my divorced protestant husband. (It all worked out in the end and we convalidated our marriage a few years later.)

Never was I told that my soul was all important and that I was to have a deep personal relationship with Jesus and that He would change my life. (I’m still working on that one.)

All I remember from my Confirmation time was the fact the SSJ sister would not let me use the confirmation name of Lydia because she said it was not a saint’s name. She was pretty upset when I brought her evidence Lydia was St. Paul’s first European convert. At the time my attitude was “I showed her.” Instead I should have been counseled that I really should pick a saint that I had great admiration for because of their heroic virtue, not because I got the name from a Gothic romance novel I was reading at the time.

You are SO correct that CCD is a waste of time for so many kids. Our former pastor wanted to delay Confirmation until the fall of the kids’ 9th grade year to keep the kids in CCD and the mandatory(!) Youth Group for a longer time, instead of letting them receive in 8th grade. Well! You would have thought the sky was falling how ticked off the parents were that the kids still had to go to Religious Ed for an extra 6 months! Some left the parish and others waited it out until the pastor moved to his new assignment and a new pastor came in and put the schedule back to where it was before. No where did anyone really mention that Religious Ed should be a life long endeavor and that you can’t stop learning about your faith. Our bishops use the sacraments as a carrot to get you to continue in Religious Ed as long as they can get you to come, knowing the minute it ends you won’t come back.

And rarely in Church do I hear that you should have a great love for the Man who loves you best. The “personal relationship with Jesus Christ” the protestants talk about.

I read about the early Christians and how even children were martyrs for the faith. Where is that faith now? Perhaps you see it in China or the Christians in the Middle East that are persecuted, but it is a rare thing here.

We sacrificed a lot to send our oldest to our poor little parish school which eventually closed the year my son graduated 8th grade. He moved onto Catholic High School and will graduate this coming year. He knows quite a lot about Catholicism. Does he or his friends have faith – no. The school tries I think, but it is hard to overcome a culture. And you are right – Catholic schools are essentially private schools for middle class kids. Parents sometimes almost go bankrupt to send their kids there. Is it worth it? I’m not sure. We wanted a good “Catholic” education, but more importantly did not want him in the gang and drug infested public school with the high percentage drop out rate. It is a great well-run family school and we are blessed to have him there, but will he have faith – time will tell.

My other son is 9 and in a charter school because we just could not afford two tuitions. The CCD people try, but I was told by people in the know that if I wanted to homeschool him for CCD it would be better. Many of the CCD teachers are teens – is that really what we want?

I think we should give the sacraments as babies (except Confession) and then instill in people that learning about Christ is life long. Then support it by having good programs: bible studies, studies on Church documents, programs to teach Lectio Divina and other ways of prayer (if you see how many people sign up for Centering Prayer programs and Christian Yoga you see the hunger people have – why not give them real teachings instead of crap.) What it really takes is strong decisive bishops and priests who are not afraid. We are seeing more of that and hopefully in the future things will change and other priests/bishops will get just as ticked off as you. The problem is the present. How many souls will be lost because we have to do this silly CCD model and we have at least two generations with a religious education of fluff.

Rock on Father!

2012 Election Novena

Please join my friends and I while we pray a novena for the election coming this November.  We will be praying the following short prayer from February 6th to November 6th.  We all know how important this election is.  If we all petition the Lord for his help he will help guide people in making the right choices for our country.  Fasting would make this prayer even more powerful.  Post it where you’ll see it.

O Virgin of Guadalupe, Your appearance in Mexico changed the course of history. Human sacrifice ceased and millions were converted to Jesus Christ. Pray for our nation now. Guide our elections through your gracious intercession. Change hearts and minds to uphold the dignity of all human life. Stem the tide of moral degeneration and defend the sanctity of marriage. Protect our nation from terrorism, war, and natural disaster. May goodness triumph over evil. May candidates committed to God’s truth be elected and re-elected. And may our nation prosper, through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen.