Sunday, July 20, 2014

New Saying Yes 2 Life Facebook page!

If any of my readers would like to join my Saying Yes 2 Life Facebook page, share the Catholic faith, and spread a culture of LIFE… please click here:

Saying Yes 2 Life Facebook page!

I will post my blog entries as well as Catholic and pro-life news and events.  Please join - I would love to meet you there!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Hail, Full of Grace...

Hail Mary, full of grace….How many times have we Catholics started our prayers this way?  Have we ever stopped right there and thought about just those words?  Those are the words that the angel Gabriel spoke to Mary when he greeted and gave her the wonderful news that she would give birth to our Lord and Savior.

"Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!" Luke 1:28



Why did Gabriel say, "full of grace"?  This actually goes back to the original Greek word "kecharitomene", which means that Mary was "filled and endowed with grace" from the moment of her conception until her assumption into heaven.  She was sinless from conception.  The word "grace" was a greeting and blessing from God.  It was "God's giving of himself in Christ in order to bring salvation" (Catholic Bible Dictionary).  So when Gabriel greets Mary as "full of grace", he is saying she was completely filled with grace from conception to assumption and by the fact that she was carrying our Lord in her womb.  God literally gave Himself in Christ to Mary "in order to bring salvation".

So many times we overlook Mary in our quest for her son.  Yet it is she who beckons us to know Him.  She calls us.  For me it is a very strong tug in the center of my soul.  She called me to this faith, and once a Catholic, she continued to nudge me closer to her Son.  She is miraculous and glorious; beautiful and serene.  She answered the call to life with a resounding yes.  She answered with a yes because she was full of grace.  She was unwavering in her love for and obedience to God.  She is the prototypical Christian and someone we can look to for help, love, and guidance.

She is our greatest intercessor. She deserves our love, our attention, and our hearts.

And the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God.  And behold you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.  He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there will be no end."
Luke 1:30-33




Monday, July 14, 2014

Biking For Babies!

Did you know that right now three teams of pro life young adults are riding bikes from Dallas, New Orleans, and St. Augustine all the way to Chicago?  That's right.  They're biking across a good portion of the U.S. to raise funds and awareness for the Respect Life movement.  These young adults deserve our attention, our promotion, our prayers, and our financial backing.  Please take a look at their website and see all that the three teams are doing.  Praise God we are raising up a culture of LIFE in this nation!!!

Here is their website:
Biking for Babies

Here is a great, fun, and short video showcasing getting ready for the start of the ride and Day1!



Thursday, June 19, 2014

A Servant of God Passes...

Saying goodbye is just so hard.  Whether it's saying goodbye to your kids in the morning as they head to school, or saying goodbye to your hubby as he prepares for a long day at work, or saying goodbye to loved ones when you may not see them again for months or even years, it always kind of brings a lump to my throat.  The most difficult goodbye is the one that ends with, "'til we meet again in heaven."  Even though we know we may see that person once we pass into eternity, it is so difficult being the one left behind.  The goodbye because of the death of a loved one makes us so sad we may cry for days or years.  It's a tough one to get over.

Recently, a friend of mine passed away, and I definitely feel a void in my life.  He is no longer here to talk to in person, listen to his sage advice, see his smile, have his help with church matters, or just notice his fidgets and quirks that made him "him".  He was a retired priest from New York working at our parish.  He and I became friends many years ago when my oldest son was in junior high at the parish school.  There's something about a priest who makes the effort to be at the kids' dances and in the classrooms talking with them when he, himself, is in failing health.

Here is Father Jerry at the Women's Conference…
fully engaged with one of the participants as he was
with each one of us.

When I began to run the respect life ministry for our parish, I was four months pregnant.  I was told a "Walk for Life" was already planned to be held at our parish for the end of January - I would be nine months pregnant (yikes).  Fr. Jerry offered to help numerous times and in numerous ways.  He was always concerned for me, my health, and the health of the baby.  He came to me one day a few years back and said he wanted to start a women's healing mass at our parish and asked if I would help him.  Of course I said yes, and we were on our way.  This year, our parish will hold its fourth annual healing mass.  When we held the Archdiocesan Women's Conference, he of course said he would be there all day to hear confessions.  This was a man who suffered physically everyday and was on multiple medications.

When his time came to finally meet our Lord, I was, of course, overcome with tremendous sadness over losing my friend, pastor, and confessor, but I was also happy for him as his pain and suffering had ended.  I would not be able to hear his homilies anymore.  I would not see his smile.  I would not see his tremendous efforts at our parish in being what he was called to be… a shepherd to the people.  But…I would forever hold those memories in my heart and in my memory.  The day he died, I heard his voice in my ears non-stop all day.  I kept going over old conversations I had had with him - hearing his advice, his laugh, his kind voice, and the way he sometimes fumbled for words when he wasn't feeling well.  I could feel his hand on mine when I was sad or tired or in need of a friend.

I brought my oldest son with me to the visitation (his funeral was in his home state of NY), as we were all so close to him, and we both did a lot of crying.  It was beautiful to get to say goodbye to him face to face though.  He was lying there so peacefully and dressed in white.  He looked like an angel.   Honestly, as I stood beside his casket and looked at him one last time all I could do was smile.  He had brought so much joy to my life and to my family's life, and I knew he was finally home and free from his earthly pains and troubles.  It definitely brought closure.  I will miss this humble servant of God, this man who was never afraid to admit past failures publicly, and help us with ours privately.  He taught us over and over to live as Jesus lived, to love each other, to see everyone as God's loved creations, to give of ourselves to others, to seek help when we go astray, and he taught us that God loves us and forgives us.  I am a better person for having known him and he will live with me and my family for all eternity.

"Well done, good and faithful servant…"  Matthew 25:21

p.s.  About a year ago, Father Jerry flagged me down after mass.  He pulled me aside and told me he wanted me to have this…his announcement card when he was ordained a priest.  He said he had saved several of them over the years and wanted me to have one.  The night he passed, I kept it very close to me.  He had a great love of the mass and truly believed in his calling to the priesthood.  Please pray for the soul of Father Jerry Hafner.







Monday, April 28, 2014

Letting Go and Having Faith in the Storm

Back in the 80's, when my parents were attending new age churches, I remember a saying that I used to hear over and over.

"Let go and let God"

It's not so new-agey, really.  Its roots are deep in Judeo-Christian teachings.  The Bible is riddled with one story after another of God testing one's faith.  We see numerous stories of people showing us how to let go and completely trust in God's ways.  Abraham climbs a mountain to do the unimaginable - kill his son - all because God is testing his faith.  Abraham trusts in God and is ultimately rewarded as his son's life is spared.  Noah is asked to build a really big boat with very specific instructions…and he does it. Daniel is thrown into a lion's den, yet his faith in God saves him at the hands of an angel.  I could go on and on right on through to Mary and Joseph, and ultimately Jesus.

We are no different from the characters of the Bible.  We are ordinary people being called to faithfulness.  This often comes in times of deep trial.  We are called to completely let go of our earthly expectations of how a circumstance "should" unfold.  Sometimes the outcomes are not good.  Are we still faithful even when things don't go our way?  We have to be.  This is what God is asking of us.  As the song goes, do you "praise him in the storm"?  I would say that if you are in the beginning of a tumultuous time, or in the eye of the storm, or in the aftermath, you must praise Him all the time.  You must praise God in all his infinite wisdom and glory, for He knows better than we.

As humans here on this earth, we can ONLY know true freedom when we give up ourselves to God's will.  When we try to force our own will, we only end up frustrating ourselves and those around us.  I was just telling my husband yesterday that I admittedly sometimes don't want to get myself to mass on Sunday.  I'm too busy with my errands, or my cooking, or my laundry, or my exercising, or my … my … my.  And then I go.  I go to mass and sit their in the pew and feel happier than I ever have in all my life.  Church is the happiest place on earth for me.  It is a joy like no other.  When I'm there, I'm pretty sure it is heaven on earth.  My selfishness could have prevented me from enjoying that one hour of heaven.  Letting go of my worries and giving them over to God is unimaginably freeing.

I will leave you with a clip from a Disney movie which I adore in its simplicity, and yet its very deep meaning.  Let go and let God!


Saturday, February 22, 2014

Speak Life …Everywhere…All the Time

It's difficult not to notice Pope Francis' exuberance for God, for Christ, for Mary, or for the Church.  He loves it all, and he wants us to as well.  He has spoken many times on showing the world our love for Christ and for the Church.

Infectious smile!


If we are to be disciples of Christ, as the apostles were, we are to go out into the world filled with the life of Christ pumping so hard through our veins that we just cannot contain it.  We don't have a choice.  This is what we are called to do.

Happy bunch right there, don't ya' think?



And I don't mean only sometimes…or to certain people...or when things are going well.  We must praise God in all situations - good or bad.  God has a plan for each of us and as disciples, we must completely trust in his love and care for us.  He has told us that we are more precious to him than the birds in the sky.  Don't they always find what they need - food, drink, shelter?  God takes care of us more than that.  He loves us more.

Beautiful …and cared for!


Every time we open our mouths or interact with other human beings, it is a chance to speak God's language - the language of LOVE and of LIFE.  We must listen to what others are saying, we must ask how others are doing, we must breathe love and life out of every pore of our bodies.  Every word that comes out of our mouths is either breathing life or slowly killing it.  There really is no in-between.  Think about that.  Do we not think that most of our words are benign?  A simple hello?, good-bye?, how much is that?, thanks?  Our words are not benign.  They are either life giving or life draining.




I'm talking about the attendants at the local fast-food joint.  Say hi. Compliment them.

They're making your food.


I'm talking about the nurses and doctors who are caring for you.  Realize they are overworked and would like a smile and an understanding heart.

He's saving your child's life.


I'm talking about your cleaning lady or your yard guy.  They are people with families whom they are caring for with the money earned from physical labor on your property so you can live more comfortably.  Offer them waters or food.  Most people do not.

Now add demanding owners, bugs, bad weather, animal excrement…you get the idea.



I'm talking about the cranky secretary at your child's school.  She is probably overworked and underpaid and is worrying about issues at home.  Bring her flowers or a bowl of cut-up fruit.  Sympathize with how hard she is working.

Yup, do something nice for her.  


I'm talking about the homeless person sitting at the exit ramp of the freeway.  He is God's child, and God loves him.  If you dare to open your window and give him your spare change, will you not then converse with him?  Tell him God loves him and you'll pray for him.  Watch his face change.

That's right.  God bless YOU! And Jesus does love all.


I'm talking about your children.  Were your words today ones that built them up or tore them down?

Were you down on her level today? Did you listen? What did your words sound like to her?


I'm talking about your spouse.  Did you tell him/her you love him/her at least five times today?  Did you kiss him/her?  What was your tone when speaking to him/her?  Were you understanding of his/her circumstances or difficulties?  Did you speak love and life to him/her … ALL DAY?

…that would be the language of LOVE.

I'm talking about every single person, all day long, every day of the year, in every circumstance.  Tall order to fill, but we kind of have to if we are disciples of Christ.

Will this make you stand out? Yes.  Will it make you seem weird to some? Sure.  Will people take notice? Yes.  People will want to know why you are so happy.  Happiness is contagious.  Spread it.  Spread words of LOVE and LIFE to everyone you meet …everywhere ...all the time!  Don't worry, thousands are behind you …

… definitely speaking LIFE!


and you only have to worry about following one.




Tuesday, January 21, 2014

God Didn't tell Moses "Except for Those in Utero" : Abortion Facts

As I sit here on the eve of the annual national March for Life, my thoughts are all over the map. I wonder how I went the majority of my life without ever even knowing the march happens every year on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade.  I think about all the people - so many youths - in DC right now praying and preparing for tomorrow's march in freezing temperatures and snow.  I think of all the women who have needlessly killed their tiny precious babies while nestled in their wombs. How those millions of women are hurting and stuffing their hurt down with prozac or a bottle of wine each night. Tell everyone you know that the March for Life is happening in our nation's capitol - you'll be surprised at the number of people who have never even heard of it.

News outlets don't think THIS is news-worthy. Incredible, huh?
(Follow the March for Life  HERE )

Roe v. Wade did nothing for our country other than harm.  It brought life-long hurts, both physical and emotional, to millions of women...and even death to some!  Are these the women's rights the feminists fought and continue to fight for?  Does this really make sense?  Really???  The law also brought a death sentence to 55 million lives - a genocide on our own people.  We are a "Nation under God", are we not?  All civil societies deem murder as a heinous crime.  "Thou shall not commit murder" is one of the Ten Commandments.  God did not tell Moses, "except for those in utero." Murder is wrong. Abortion is murder. Abortion is wrong.

Being pro-life is such a logical and easy argument, that it still continues to amaze me that I never saw it that way for so many years.  It amazes me that so many others still continue to not see it that way as well.  All it really takes is for one pro-life person to tell another pro-choice person the facts.  For me, I never knew the methods of abortion.  I did not know that abortion was legal in all 50 states through the ninth month of pregnancy (until recently).  It just takes one person to tell another person the facts.  When I was told the facts, I literally sat down on a curb in a parking lot.  Tears began streaming down my face, and I said, "If every American knew what you just told me, abortion would end tomorrow."

I personally know several women who have had abortions, and they are suffering silently.  Do not kid yourself, they are seated next to you in your church pews, they are your friends, mothers, sisters, aunts, cousins, and daughters.  Women face the choice of abortion when they feel desperate and pressured.  Carrying life inside your womb….well, there is just nothing like it.  The moment you are pregnant, you just kind of know.  You feel it.  You feel the life that is there already changing you.   I don't know one woman who would ever want that baby cut from their womb and ripped out.  It is the most un-natural thing on the planet as we are beings created by God to bring forth life in cooperation with Him.  Women do not go into abortion clinics gleefully.  There is extreme fear and regret.  It is a horrific decision and it should not be legal.  Other options must be made available to mothers and fathers.

We as a society must do better at promoting the programs and help that is out there to women in distress over an unplanned pregnancy.  We cannot just talk the talk, we must walk the walk.  Reach out to anyone you know who might have undergone an abortion and inform her that there is help.  Reach out to any man you might know who was the victim of having his baby murdered without any rights to his baby whatsoever.  Periodically, you might want to post on your Facebook page places for help.  People read Facebook, they just don't like to comment or "like" postings for fear of being exposed to one person or another.  Post the facts surrounding abortion.  Let's leave our opinions to the side.  I definitely have mine, but opinions really get us nowhere.  It is teaching the facts to our youth that will turn the tide on this matter.  We are already seeing signs of that in states like Texas and others.  Forty one years after Roe v. Wade, people are finally realizing abortion does not have to be a necessary evil.  It just doesn't.  It is not saving women's lives and it is definitely not saving the babies' lives.  It is destroying women, men, and families all around the globe.  It is a hurt that can only be healed with God's grace.

Spread the word.  Spread the facts.  Spread the help.  Let's put an end to this atrocity!

Need to find help in your area?  Priests For Life "Pregnancy Help Center Near You"
Need healing post abortionRachel's Vineyard Weekend Retreat Schedule by Date
Are you a man who has endured lost fatherhood because of abortion? Fatherhood Forever

Photos of fetal development all 9 months This is LIFE!
These are the abortion methods:  Suction Curettage, Dilation & Extraction, Partial Birth
Testimony of saline abortion:  Saline abortions in 2nd & 3rd trimesters
Gruesome photos of aborted babies all 3 trimesters Pray for these babies!

EVERY ABORTION KILLS AN INNOCENT PRECIOUS BABY

AT 8 WKS. (according to research we have today), THE BABY REACTS TO TOUCH

AT 20 WKS., THE BABY FEELS PAIN

ABORTION IS NOT A WOMAN'S BODY ISSUE - IT IS AN ISSUE INVOLVING 3 PEOPLE

ABORTION HAS BECOME A GENDERCIDE WORLDWIDE - SHRINKING FEMALE POPULATION

RAPE, POVERTY, DISABILITY, OR BEING UNWANTED NEVER JUSTIFIES MURDER

SUICIDE RATES ARE 6 TIMES HIGHER AMONG WOMEN WHO HAVE HAD ABORTIONS THAN THOSE WHO HAVE NOT. American Assoc. of Pro-Life Obstetricians & Gynecologists

WOMEN WHO HAVE HAD ABORTIONS ARE MORE PRONE TO DEPRESSION AND DRUG ABUSE

WOMEN WHO HAVE HAD ABORTIONS HAVE A 40% HIGHER CHANCE OF HAVING A PREMATURE BIRTH BEFORE 32 WEEKS WITH SUBSEQUENT PREGNANCIES
American Assoc. of Pro-Life Obstetricians & Gynecologists

WOMEN WHO HAVE HAD AN ABORTION HAVE A 44% HIGHER CHANCE OF HAVING BREAST CANCER New Study on Chinese Women (& 1child policy)

OVER 80% OF ABORTIONS ARE DONE FOR THE SAKE OF CONVENIENCE

PLANNED PARENTHOOD'S FOUNDER, MARGARET SANGER, ONCE SAID, "THE MOST MERCIFUL THING THAT A FAMILY DOES TO ONE OF ITS INFANT MEMBERS IS TO KILL IT."

PLANNED PARENTHOOD PERFORMS 300,000+ ABORTIONS EACH YEAR

55 MILLION BABIES KILLED IN THE U.S. ALONE SINCE JAN. 22, 1973

FACTS ARE FACTS.  THERE IS JUST NO GETTING AROUND THEM.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Women: Put Down that Magazine and Climb Out From the Depths of Hell!

The other day I was in the checkout lane at the grocery store and actually without my brood, so I thought I'd reach out and thumb through a magazine.  Ahhhhh, that was going to be my one-minute escape.  Except that it wasn't an escape into celebrating womanhood, it was an escape into hell I think (hell would be full of liars, right?).  Anyway, my husband and I have been using the "Lose It" app since Christmas to shed a few unwanted middle-age pounds (and it is working by the way!), so I reached out for Redbook because it had a section on the cover related to choosing the right foods.

Upon opening the cover, I was hit with the letter from the editor saying how she wants, "SHE NEVER GAVE UP ON DATE NIGHT" on her tombstone.  Really? I don't know about you, but that's not really the way I want my family and loved ones to remember me….so many other things to put on a tombstone.  She proceeds to inform me that she and her husband are just too busy for their regular date nights, so she found a cute restaurant where they could enjoy breakfast together.  Cute idea, I thought.  But then she said she and her husband had to consult "phone calendars" in order to get this done.  Yuck.  This is where we're at as a society, I thought? And then she slapped me at the end with sending me to an article in the magazine about love stories - one of which included a woman who married an old college friend, got married, and then the college friend realized he was really a "she" on the inside.

Okay, so then I went back to the front and started thumbing through the magazine in its entirety seeing if there was anything redeemable in it.  Pretty much the only good thing between its cover was the one page article covering the food items and how to pick foods smartly - the reason I picked up the magazine.  More than half of the magazine was devoted to promoting make-up, skins creams, clothing, handbags, and shoes.  As I was thumbing through, I realized all the products I don't have or have never even heard of.  I have to admit, I felt a bit of a panic - like I needed to rush out and look for all those products that were going to erase my wrinkles, and smooth out any lumps I've accumulated from eight pregnancies. Yikes! Let's face it.  I am out of the loop!  I needed a new handbag - stat!  And probably one in every color like they suggested!

All of a sudden, it was like someone slapped me  - you know, like Cher slaps Nicholas Cage in "Moonstruck" and says, "snap out of it!"



I closed the magazine, placed it back on the rack and looked down lovingly at my five year old Vera Bradley diaper bag...and fell in love all over again…with that well-worn bag…and with my life.  That diaper bag has served two of my four children and it's still going strong.  It has housed changes of clothes for three children, drinks for three children, snacks for three children, a ziploc of diapers, wipes, and A&D, my wallet, phone, and lipgloss (God forbid it's the same awesome color I picked out all on my very own two years ago) - all at the same time.  It's a workhorse.  My husband even picks it up and carries it with pride when it gets too heavy for me to carry. I don't need more stuff to fill up my life or closets.  I don't need to consult my phone calendar to have a date with my husband to know he loves me.  I would imagine millions of women out there feel the same way I do.  These fashion magazines only serve to make women feel insecure about our looks, our bodies, our fashions, our husbands, and our sex lives.  (heck, one article in there told me I should pick cuter underwear).

Typical women's magazine cover

Your husband should be your best friend and partner in your life.  He should love you to the end.  If you choose right, he will be there to help you with the babies in the middle of the night when one is colicky and the other is vomiting and the others are just up from all the noise.  He will hold your hand and fight for you when you are sick and in the hospital.  He will support the home and the people in it.  He will pick up your handbag when it gets too heavy from transporting all the essentials you need for the life the two of you have created.   I'm sorry to shock so many, but he's NOT YOUR DATE ANYMORE once you get married.  You're not testing the waters and impressing him with the right shade of lipstick (which he never noticed while you were dating anyway - sorry).  Stop putting that pressure on yourself!  Many couples just cannot have date nights - for many different valid reasons.  But that doesn't mean you can't squeeze in some cuddle time every night before you doze off each night.  Let's face it, what better way to fall asleep than in the arms of the love of your life?


My awesome husband holding our 2nd son after an emergency c-section
Women must never forget a few things though.  Rejoice in all the moments and ways your husband IS  there supporting you - daily.  Don't overlook all the late nights he spends with you helping with the house or the bills or the children.  Don't overlook the times he runs to the store to get that one thing you forgot in your grocery store trip.  Don't overlook the fact that he is the one who will be by your side when you give birth cheering you on.  Don't overlook all the times he gets up early on Saturdays to take care of home matters or brings your sons to their ball games.  Don't overlook the fact that he gets up everyday and works hard at his job to ensure a financially secure life.  He is loving you in all those ways.  If you keep God at the center of your life, you will be hard-pressed to forget these things.

 Put the women's magazines down, throw them in the trash, and fill your home with literature that fills your mind with knowledge and nurtures your soul with love. Your husbands will thank you for it.  Your kids will thank you for it.  Women are so busy running around shopping for all the right items they think will fill their lives and keep their husbands attracted, that they are forgetting their husbands are already attracted and they're waiting on their wives to realize that. We need literature in the check-out lanes that encourage us to know we are great just the way God made us.  We don't need magazines to force-feed a habit of overspending on garbage that will never fill our lives the way God can.  We don't need magazines telling us date nights are so important it should be engraved on our tombstones!  Seriously, climb out from the depths of hell!!!  What women and couples DO need in their lives is God.  He is the ONLY ONE who can fill you - completely, wholly, to your core.  If you keep Him at the center of your marriage - at the center of your lives - you will stay centered on the important stuff in life.  One thing's for sure…the important stuff is not in a store, and I don't need a magazine to bring me to the depths of hell and lie and tell me that it is.


Our 20th Wedding Anniversary - five years ago



Thursday, January 9, 2014

Mary Would Shock GMA Too With Her Submissiveness!

Today, after I dropped off my 4yo son at preschool, my 2yo daughter and I walked over to our Church's outdoor nativity still set up.  I figured it would be our last close-up look of the year, and my kids love seeing the baby Jesus. How is it so simple for them and not for so many adults? But I digress. Anyway, it was chilly out today and drizzly - kind of like Seattle weather - and I stood there with my hair blowing in the breeze and frizzing up and thinking about how I wasn't very comfortable.  It was chilly, and wet, and windy.



And then, all of a sudden, my focus shifted to Mary.  There she was…kneeling next to her beloved son…the King of Kings.  The little shelter that was around the Holy family was breezy and chilly and rainy.  The wind was affecting the Holy Family as it was affecting me.  All of those people present in the Nativity story were affected by the elements.  I thought that perhaps the weather might have been like that at the time of Jesus' birth.  Whatever the weather was, it sure wasn't nice to give birth in a dirty stable possibly subject to the outside elements.

Mary was STRONG!!! Which one of us would like to take a donkey ride for miles while 9 mos. pregnant knowing we will definitely not be giving birth in a hospital with competent medical staff and the comforts of solid shelter, food, and a dry clean bed?  Yup, Mary was one strong momma!  She had to submit to God's will for her and accept the circumstances surrounding the birth of the world's savior.  She was okay with the King arriving into the world on some hay.

Interestingly, and often overlooked, Mary also had to submit to Joseph's advice and care for her.  Joseph lead the Holy Family to that stable in Bethlehem.  She trusted him as the head of their household to know best for them …and she submitted to it.  She didn't argue and pester Joseph…"Joseph, what do you know?  I'm staying put.  Are you crazy? You expect me to get on that donkey?  Have fun because I'll be right here."  How the world would be different without Mary's submissiveness - both to God and to her husband.

This brought my thoughts to a news story I read yesterday about Candace Cameron's remarks yesterday on Good Morning America regarding her "submissiveness" to her husband.  Women around the country, I'm sure, shrieked in horror!  Feminists everywhere (in my mind) wanted to storm the set and burn their bras on air!  Candace clarified her remarks by saying she uses that word in a Biblical sense.  Well, she might as well have been speaking Martian.  Most of our society knows very little about the Bible, much less the definition of a word that is in the Bible.  Candace Cameron has been happily married for seventeen years! Not a lot of people can say that.  Perhaps Cameron knows something most other modern women don't.  Submissiveness might not be such a bad thing.

Candace Cameron Bure and family

Being submissive within a marriage does not mean being a doormat.  It is "strength under control", as Candace said.  Marriage is all about give and take and sometimes submitting to what is best for the family even when it's not what our selfish heart desires.  Mary displayed strength under control, don't you think? She submitted to God's will and the will of her husband for the good of her family.  Can you imagine if Mary were a guest on Good Morning America in this day and age?  How she would shock the world with her humility, obedience, and submissiveness!  She would be trampled by news agencies everywhere - not to mention what feminists would do to her.  Ultimately, our own happiness lies in submitting our lives to God's will for us.  Mary knew that.  She was free from original sin.  It was not on her heart to stray from God's word.  It is in submission that we are actually free - for we do not have the earthly constraints holding us back.  Mary is the ultimate example of a wife and mother.  Mary showed us all what graces can lie before us when we submit.



Monday, January 6, 2014

Have Catholic Schools Become Our New Churches?

Have we moved so far away from the original intent of the American Catholic school? What would Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton say if she were alive today?  She was shunned by her family both socially and financially for converting to Catholicism.  She was so convinced in the need for Catholic schools for immigrant families that she sought financial help and did not give up until she got it.  What was her vision for the future Catholic schools of America? Was it what it is today?



It is said that humans are hard-wired to worship.  Without God in our lives, we seek something else to worship whether it be money, fame, youth, clothing, houses, cars, Hollywood idols, whatever.  I got dragged into a conversation today by two parents who were discussing their children's Catholic school tuition.  One was a practicing Catholic and the other was a non-Catholic (practicing nothing).  The non-Catholic was upset that the quality of education at this school did not match the hefty tuition cost, and he was upset there was a "discount" for people who "just belonged to the Church".

I have been actively involved with Catholic schools in our Archdiocese now for twenty years.  What I have sadly seen time and time again is hordes of well-intentioned wealthy parents pay for a Catholic education for their children because it is a "wholesome environment".  Many of these parents never attend mass or seldomly attend mass or send their children in their place.  The faith is not their number one priority in choosing a school.  Once their last child graduates from 8th grade…so long to Catholicism.

I cannot speak for Catholic schools all across the nation, but I would wager a bet that urban and suburban (of large cities) Catholic schools are very similar in this regard.  Perhaps the parents grew up attending Catholic school and they want to pass those "traditions" on to their children, or perhaps it's just a better alternative to public schools and they have the money to pay for it.  What I begin to see as the families go through the grades, is the list of complaints regarding the school begins to grow. The parents are upset that the Catholic schools don't "have" the "things" that the public schools have or that the elite private schools have.  They want all the tax-paid goodies, so they push and push and push until their wholesome Catholic school more closely resembles the local high-end public schools replete with all of its bells and whistles.

Unfortunately, administrators can fall prey to this kind of thinking as well.  The emphasis no longer is on our Catholic faith, but a top notch education in a wholesome environment…and oh yeah, by the way, we attend mass once a week.  Parents become obsessed with making their Catholic school into an elite private school or the best public school.  They talk and talk and talk about all the things they want to do for the school, but never do Church matters cross their lips.  They aren't upset that the pastor can't fix the air conditioning in the church due to low funds, but they sure can shell out thousands of dollars for the latest school fundraiser.  They also become obsessed with the school sports.  If you ever attend a Catholic middle school basketball game, you'd think you were watching the NBA.  The intensity of the fans is practically equivalent.  Coaches pace back and forth on the sidelines with veins bulging in their necks.  Parents sit on pins and needles at every shot, foul, and free throw.  Let's be honest, unless little Logan sprouts up about THREE FEET, he probably has no chance whatsoever at becoming an NBA player…or a college player.

The parents of today's modern Catholic schools have made the school their new Church.  Worshipping God has been replaced with worshipping their children's schools.  They must have the best!  No stopping!

Demand more and if we can't have it, we'll fundraise for it, and by the grace of God we'll get the money for it!  We're paying a hefty tuition bill each month, so we're owed it.

And it really irks them that those weird families who go to Church get a discount.  I am here to say that the Church families are not getting a discount.  The Church families are what the Catholic schools are all about - or should be about.  The tuition is set for practicing Catholic families.  Anyone else who is lucky enough to attend, but does not want to be a part of our faith community will have to pay a heftier price.  The most faith-filled school children I ever saw were in an urban Catholic school with very limited financial resources.  The halls were bare.  The doors were metal.  The classrooms were large with high ceilings and very stark.  The children were numerous (far too numerous by typical suburban standards).  The school staffed several nuns and the Catholic faith was number one there.  It was evident.  There was NO DENYING it was a Catholic school!  The children?…they were happy…REALLY HAPPY!

Parents must remember that happiness does not come in the form of more goodies and the best sports teams - it comes when our faith is number one.  Church is vital to a healthy family.  God is first.  Everything comes second.  Catholic schools must never forget their mission - to provide a Catholic education to Catholic children so that they may practice their faith in school as well as at home.  God is the source of truth, goodness, and pure love.  Children get it…why don't the parents?