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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

New Broadway Play About Hero Who Is … Catholic!

One of my favorite things to do each week is attend our "Lunch with Luke" Bible Study: a wonderful bunch of God-seeking friends who pour over the Bible and the Catechism and listen to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Invariably, we get sidetracked and end up someplace else other than the lesson. Perhaps these divinely-directed detours are exactly where we're supposed to be, but I digress! Yesterday was no exception. We ended up in conversation about the new Broadway Play about Irene Gut Opdyke who, at the time of the play’s World War II’s setting, was a pretty 19-year-old blond Polish Roman Catholic to whom fate (she would say God) gave the opportunity to save 12 Jews in, of all places, the home of the highest-ranking German officer in a Polish city. Ultimately discovered by the Nazi officer, she was offered the choice of becoming the elderly Nazi’s mistress or the Jews all being sent to death camps.

In Dennis Prager's own words:
It is rare to see a play on Broadway that is preoccupied with goodness. It is even more rare to see Broadway play extol the goodness of a religious person. When was the last Broadway show about a Christian hero? In this upside-down age that is hypersensitive to any criticism, no matter how fair, of any aspect of Islam but which regularly depicts many American Christians as buffoons and quasi-fascists, one can only hope that this play has a long run. Likewise, in an age when art increasingly celebrates the ugly and the bad, one can only hope that a million young people see a play that celebrates the goodness that God-based morality can produce.

So if you're headed off to NY in the near future, make sure you go see the play. Wouldn't it be great if someone could turn this into a movie?
Ah, but I digress.

Monday, March 30, 2009

The Passion as told by Lego

The Passion in Lego

Posted by Tom McFeely

Monday, March 30, 2009 3:41 PM

All sensible Daily Blog readers should also make a regular habit of visiting our sister site,

Why? Because there’s a wealth of interesting and instructive information posted there — such as this video of Christ’s Passion in Lego constructed by a pair of talented Catholic teens. It’s an excellent way to get kids interested during Lent in thinking about the reality of Christ’s crucifixion.

Here’s the direct link to Rebecca Teti’s original post about the Lego Passion. Dan and Peter Bernetsky, the teens who painstakingly put it together, are friends of Rebecca’s.

Sunday, March 29, 2009


At the behest of our 12-year-old son, we attended a showing of the Nicolas Cage sci-fi movie, Knowing on Friday night. The thumbnail sketch of the plot is this: an MIT professor who has recently & tragically lost his wife, is convinced that the universe and all it contains is just a random grouping of unrelated and purposeless events: Life has no meaning. What unfolds is a series of scenes that turn his theory on its ear. The movie is a sci-fi thriller with many allusions to the faith and scriptural reference points. If you can get past the numerological details and some of the global warming nuttiness, you will be pleasantly surprised (I think) about some of the conversations that this movie will undoubtedly spark.

My husband and I have laid a faith foundation in our family that we oftenttimes are fooled into thinking, due to the actions of our sons, that it has been a bridge to nowhere. To be frank, we just don't always see the fruits of our labor. I can become easily discouraged knowing that we have been faithful with our investment of time, energy and resources into Catholic education, Mass every week and an insistance in the values that we embrace, and yet my kids just don't get it. They think it's tripe. Sorry, I don't mean to whine, but this is the hair-raising cross that I've had to bear more recently and more often than ever before. To be frank, I have come to a basic acceptance of the fact that I must entrust to God what he has entrusted to me as a parent. That having been said, I get giddy over little things (God shots) that prove to me that there are some fruits to be noticed in the here and now and God has not abandoned me to my vain frustrations. The example was Friday when we emerged from the theater.

"Mom, did you know that those guys were angels sent from God? And that one part reminded me of Noah's Ark and the flood. And they ended up back in the Garden of Eden just like Adam and Eve with the good tree and not that evil tree....yadda yadda yadda. " It came gushing forth! I learned later on that my son had been discussing this movie at his new school with a classmate who happens to be jewish. Again, and I repeat: they are twelve.

In all my years of knowing my son, he never has initiated conversation with me about the faith. Never. Until Friday. It might be a fair assessment that we humans provide the necessary kindling and raw materials with which to make a foundation of a faith. We engage our memory, our will, our liberty and our intellect to process a reality that is both here and in the eternal. But it needs a spark, a seed, the God particle at precisely the "right" moments in order to become what it is to be: in this case, belief. Could I have witnessed the creation of a new cosmos of understanding in my son? I'm probably reading way too much into this. I'll stop now, content to KNOW that God is in charge, and I am not and I get to surrender over and over and over again.

If you have a 12-year old*, you might want to go see Knowing; you might be pleasantly surprised by some of the interesting conversations that spark after the show!

*It's a PG-13 and there are some scenes that contain a lot of destruction and people burning, fyi.

A Cardinal Speaketh

Welcome to the Hall of Fame Cardinal DiNardo of Houston...

Friday, March 27, 2009

Bishop #4 Joins the Hallowed Hall

Houston Cardinal Becomes Highest Ranking Official, 4th Bishop to Condemn Notre Dame Scandal

By Kathleen Gilbert
March 27, 2009 ( - American Cardinal Nicholas DiNardo has criticized the decision of the Catholic University of Notre Dame to honor President Barack Obama by inviting him to be this year's commencement speaker and awarding him with an honorary doctorate. The Cardinal said that the "disappointing" invitation "requires charitable but vigorous critique."
The Cardinal's remarks constitute the highest-ranking criticism yet from a member of the Catholic Church hierarchy against the University's decision. So far three other American bishops have criticized the invitation, including the bishop of the diocese where Notre Dame is located, Bishop John D'Arcy.
In his weekly "Shepherd's Message" column, published today in the print edition of the Texas Catholic Herald, and reprinted on the Whispers in the Loggia blog, Cardinal DiNardo says, "I find the invitation very disappointing.
"Though I can understand the desire by a university to have the prestige of a commencement address by the President of the United States, the fundamental moral issue of the inestimable worth of the human person from conception to natural death is a principle that soaks all our lives as Catholics, and all our efforts at formation, especially education at Catholic places of higher learning."
The president, says the cardinal, "has made clear by word and deed that he will promote abortion and will remove even those limited sanctions that control this act of violence against the human person."
Referring to a 2004 directive by U.S. bishops that Catholic schools not honor or give platform to politicians who favor abortion, the cardinal noted, "Even given the dignity of the Office of the President, this offer is still providing a platform and an award to a public figure who has been candid on his pro-abortion views.
"Particularly troubling is the Honorary Law Degree since it recognizes that the person is a 'Teacher,' in this case of the Law. I think that this decision requires charitable but vigorous critique."

Joining the Bishop Hall of Fame...

Update: Austin Bishop Says ND Not Living Up to Catholic Identity
Read entire statement here:

“Once again faithful Catholics are comforted by another of our bishops affirming the position of more than 186,000 people that have signed the petition at that there is no way for Notre Dame to justify honoring President Obama given his clear record on issues in direct opposition to fundamental Catholic teachings,” said Patrick J. Reilly, president of The Cardinal Newman Society.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Redoubling our Prayer Efforts

Among the many things to pray for on this day, the Feast of the Annunciation, I wish to draw you once again to the below. I am heartened that our AZ Atty General, Terry Goddard has launched an investigation of Planned Parenthood. (See Catholic Edition headliner). Could this be the beginning of......the end?

Let us pray for the Closure of the Avocado Green PP Building and all like them:

Come Holy Spirit, send your Light and Truth into the minds of those assisting at or requesting services from the abortion facility at 4417 North 7th Avenue in Phoenix, AZ.
Inspire all to recognize the horrific offense abortion is to You and to all humanity.
Penetrate their hearts that they may know the great love You have for every child in the womb.
Redirect the talents of all medical professionals that they may use their skills to protect life for your greater glory.
Enlighten the minds of those procuring abortions that they may seek other life-giving alternatives to their distress, and guide all concerned to pray and assist in whatever solutions they can provide.
Through the intercession of Your holy Spouse, Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, grant that this facility be closed.
We make this prayer through our Lord Jesus Christ who, with you and the Father, lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.

Monday, March 23, 2009

ND's Commemorative Obama-wear

What folks will be sporting at the May 17 Commence-abration in Indiana:
(While supplies last)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Fr. Longnecker's Alternative 'Liturgy' for ND

From his blog which is simply a feast for the eyes:

Alternative Liturgy for the Visit of a Presidential Person
The liturgy for the welcoming of President Obama to Notre Dame has just been leaked:
The people shall gather in a suitable meeting place where a stage shall be erected. On the stage shall be placed potted palms. Of considerable size. There shall be a podium. At the back of the stage shall be Corinthian columns. They may be made of fiberglass or another lightweight material.
Outside the meeting place, along the processional route worshippers with palms shall gather. Security forces shall exclude all protestors. For security reasons. An atmosphere of joyous anticipation shall be produced with the singing of psalms or some other suitable anthems of a celebratory nature like 'We Can Make a Difference' or 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow' or the Barney theme song.
As the motorcade arrives palms should be waved along with national flags. A band may play military music or some other rousing tunes like 'Hail Hail the Gang's All Here' or the theme from Star Wars.
The Presidential person's stretch limo shall stop.
The Presidential person of the University shall step forward. The Presidential person shall step from his limo.
Presidential Person Jenkins (for it is he): Good Morning Mr President
Presidential Person Obama (or other visiting Prez) Good Morning Mr President
The two Presidential Persons shall walk together up the red carpet and enter the meeting place. The people inside should cheer and clap. Weeping and fainting will also be permitted at this point.
The President shall ascend the platform and shake hands with Father Folkmass, Sister Sandals and other important representatives of the Catholic religion. The President shall then begin the Litany of Self Affirmation.
President: We can Make a Difference
People: Yes we Can!
President: We Shall Overcome!
People: Yes we Can!
President: Children are a punishment!
People: Yes they are!
President: But you are not a punishment.
People: No, we're not!
President: Together we can change the world!
People: Yes, we can!
President: Do you want to give me an honorary Doctorate now?
People: Yes we do!
The people then hug one another as a sign of their self affirmation.
The liturgy continues with the ministry of the word. Actresses shall recite excerpts from The Vagina Monologues while rainbow banners are unfurled from the ceiling. A drama may be performed, or a joyful liturgical dance may now take place. This could portray the President's great victory in the recent election, or a similar cultural revolution of historic magnitude. (Like the election of Jimmy Carter)
The President shall then read from a teleprompter and inspire the people.
The liturgy shall continue as the President is given an honorary doctorate, a certificate of merit from Planned Parenthood, a $50.00 gift card to the local bowling alley, a ticket to the special Olympics and a box of 25 DVDs.
President: (to the graduates) You may now throw your funny flat hats with tassels in the air.
Graduates: Yes we can!
Graduates now throw mortarboards in the air.
Posted by Fr Longenecker at Sunday, March 22, 2009 ShareThis

Friday, March 20, 2009

Stench at ND

Click this link to send the below letter to Father Jenkins at ND.
Dear Father Jenkins:
It has come to our attention that the University of Notre Dame will honor President Barack Obama as its commencement speaker on May 17.
It is an outrage and a scandal that “Our Lady’s University,” one of the premier Catholic universities in the United States, would bestow such an honor on President Obama given his clear support for policies and laws that directly contradict fundamental Catholic teachings on life and marriage.
This nation has many thousands of accomplished leaders in the Catholic Church, in business, in law, in education, in politics, in medicine, in social services, and in many other fields who would be far more appropriate choices to receive such an honor from the University of Notre Dame.
Instead Notre Dame has chosen prestige over principles, popularity over morality. Whatever may be President Obama’s admirable qualities, this honor comes on the heels of some of the most anti-life actions of any American president, including expanding federal funding for abortions and inviting taxpayer-funded research on stem cells from human embryos.
The honor also comes amid great concern among Catholics nationwide about President Obama’s future impact on American society, the family, and the Catholic Church on issues such as traditional marriage, conscience protections for Catholic doctors and nurses, and expansion of abortion “rights.”
This honor is clearly a direct violation of the U.S. bishops’ 2004 mandate in “Catholics in Political Life”: “The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.”
We prayerfully implore you to halt this travesty immediately. We do so with the hope that Catholics nationwide will likewise call on you to uphold the sacred mission of your Catholic university. May God grant you the courage and wisdom to do what is right.
Sincerely,(AS OF 3/20 AT 6 PM)
Patrick J. Reilly,President of The Cardinal Newman SocietyCandace de Russy, writerNational Advisory Board, The Cardinal Newman Society
Philip F. LawlerDirector, Catholic Culture Project
Fr. C. J. McCloskey IIIChicago, IL
Craig MillerSteven WagnerPresident, QEV AnalyticsThomas N. PetersAmerican Papist Blog
Gregory K. Popcak, Ph.D., LISWExecutive Director: Pastoral Solutions InstituteHost: Fully Alive!—The Catholic Channel, Sirius 159/XM 117Host: Heart Mind & Strength—Ave Maria RadioDr. Pia de Solenni
Dr. Stephen M. KrasonPolitical Science ProgramSociety of Catholic Social ScientistsFranciscan University of Steubenville

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Protecting Conscience Rights in Health Care: Our Voice is Needed!

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is inviting public comment on a proposal to rescind an important federal regulation issued in December. The regulation implements and enforces three federal laws protecting the conscience rights of health care providers, especially those at risk of being discriminated against because of their moral or religious objection to abortion.

The Catholic community must speak out to protect Catholic doctors, nurses and hospitals. Click on this link to complete the action alert...

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Avocado Building Hits the Big Time

Speaking of the avocado green building, you can see it right here on this stunning YouTube Vid that Catholic Edition posted this morning from right here in Phoenix. This is the Planned Parenthood facility that I visit and post about in the WOTS (Woman on the Street) Chronicles. In the video, you'll be able to witness, first hand, the lie and distortion campaign being forged against young women and their babies.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

WOTS Chronicles, Ch 3

If you'd have told me 13 years ago that today I would spend part of St. Patty's Day praying to end abortion outside of a abortion clinic, I would have laughed at you.

Despite the massacres that were being carried out inside avocado green building today (Lord have mercy), it was a particularly good prayer day. There were more than a dozen or so of us. Some were folks I recognized from previous weeks and some were new faces. Holly, the girl I gave my sign to last week, was there when we arrived. She was courageously conversing with a young man who disagreed with our large display of people. He said that our presence was a judgment upon innocent people who were there to receive services. (That was his judgment upon us).

Well, he's right, frankly. I do judge. I can't help it. I judge what I will do each day; I judge what I will ingest; I judge with whom I will dine; I will even judge whether or not I will approach someone based upon their non-verbals. I judge, I discern, I make choices based upon my very human reality. I can even judge a happy prayer person approaching avocado green bldg from a scared, downcast young woman. I know which one is coming to end the life that is within her.

I believe judging is human and normal. We all do it - we need to do it in order to survive. Making right judgments is not to be confused with judgmentalism...this is an attitude of judging everyone else's wrongness and never judging oneself. We teach our children judge differences between good and bad, vice and virtue in order to live in a way that is pleasing to the Lord.

I think it's condemning we need to avoid. Condemning puts us in the place of God. It says to the one being condemned, "my ways are so far above your ways" or "I am right and you are wrong". At the clinics, we never stand in condemnation of a brother or a sister who has had or is in the process of having an abortion. We try to identify with her pain and show her the love that she has been missing.

Another striking feature of the 40 Days for Life Campaign that I have realized is that this is truly a movement that has the ability to unite Christians and Pro-life peoples from a wide variety of religious backgrounds. I was praying today with Anglicans, Calvary Church members, Lutherans and Catholics. This is one issue that cuts across the broad religious stratosphere. I ended up in conversation with an Anglican priest talking, of all things, about the Liturgy. How interesting. We were both aware of the differences, but we were also happily aware of our many similarities.

God writes straight with crooked lines.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

God So Loved

You might recall the famous B.J. Thomas classic...."Hooked on a feeling, high on believin'" song from back in the 60s. Well I guess tonite I'm hooked on a scripture that keeps bumping around my head. I'm referring to a few passages that mention that "while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" in Romans 5:8 and again in 1 Peter 3:18..."Christ also died for sins, once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous". Yes, we call it heroic virtue when one person gives up his life for another. But it is simply outlandish to consider that a good person, one without sin, blemish or defect would give up his life for a loser, bum, fill in the personal pronoun.
Very roughly translated...
I am loved beyond measure or condition
I am loved in spite of my defects
I am loved regardless of what I do or do not do
I am loved because I am
I am loved even though I am a sinner and prone to error and imperfection
I am loved by the God of Creation, the Master of the Universe
I am loved more than I can possibly know or comprehend
I am loved by love Himself.
Any effort of prayer or longing towards my Lord on my part is first initiated by this very love on His part.

I cannot love completely and divinely in the same way that Christ's perfect love expresses itself. That having been said, my challenge of gratitude to Christ for His supreme love and sacrifice for me, is to strive to be an "other Christ" in the world. So, too, must I strive to love beyond the defects, sins, shallowness and shortcomings of others. How hard it is to bend in this direction, Lord! (especially living with a teenager). I seem to want to be loved unconditionally, but do I freely love as Christ so loved? Do I merely give love where or to whom it is convenient or comfortable for me?

Now, as you ponder, listen to this amazing song.

This is from Sir John Stainer's Crucifixion, sung by the First United Methodist Church Chancel Choir of Wichita Falls, Texas.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

WOTS Chronicles,Ch 2...Hey Kalispell, you're doin' it right!

An observation from the 40 Days for Life Woman on the Street:

When we are finally face to face with an abortion-minded woman, I must remind myself that her indoctrination into her mindset began when she was very, very young. In fact, my best efforts in trying to save a child (and a mom) will be thwarted 9 times of 10 simply because we are entering her reality so late in the game. By the time she arrives at a abortion clinic she will have committed in her mind and in her heart that this is what HAS to happen because society has told her that she is ill-equipped and ill-prepared to parent a child. Her ability to search her heart has been undermined by a culture that has bombarded her with messages that convince her that a convenient & nuisance-free life is the only one worth really living.

The name of our Abortion Doctor at avocado green building on 7th Avenue in Phoenix is Dr. Child. The vanity plate on his car reads: "Abort Me".
Kidding? I wish I were. Pray for him.

Do we give up? Heck no. There is that one child.

To get a broader picture of what a "real" sidewalk counselor does, check out the troopers up in Kalispell, Minnesota in 1 degree temps!

HOPE (It's not just a city in Arkansas)

Our Bishop wrote a piece in the Catholic Sun about Obama's reversal on embryonic stem cell research. All of the 5 action items he encourages are important, however the "uber"action item that I feel is the most important right now is the final one: We must not lose hope.

When I was pregnant with Jake 13 years ago, my OB and I were involved in an interesting conversation about cord blood. (I never asked but I got a really good sense that he was a Catholic). He told me that cord blood (blood that is contained in the umbilical cord of newborns) had properties that would be beneficial to people seeking transplants and who would otherwise require bone marrow transplants. He was saddened by the fact that his patients expressing interest in donating their cord blood would need to also fork over about $1000 or more dollars in order to subsidize the storage and maintenance fees associated with a donation of this sort. We both lamented, that something was terribly of wrong with that kind of thinking. Here is blood that would otherwise be discarded, that did not take a human being out of existence, but rather, helped to sustain and nourish a new life and that could also bring life, health and healing to others.

Why do I bring this up now? Because now people, including my own Bishop, are talking about it which means that there has been an effort to make this a reality. What if every woman in my church asked her OBGYN about what they were doing to make fetal cord blood donation a possibility? How about if every woman in Phoenix? Arizona?? The US??? This is what is meant by hope. The opposite of hope is despair and despair deadens our resolve and dampens our spirit. It causes paralysis. We mustn't lose hope because hope compels us to act. It's also contagious...consider the underground railroad.
Here's the entire article. Item 3 also talks about those umbilical stem cells.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Bravo Thomas Aquinas College!

I had the opportunity to meet President Thomas Dillon of Thomas Aquinas College a few months ago at our monthly Legatus gathering. We enjoyed his talk and enthusiasm for TAC (being a solidly Catholic University) and he backed that up by showing us some sneak previews of the magnificent crowning jewel of the campus: The breathtaking Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity Chapel.

Check out the pictures. They beckon.

Our Brains are Pre-wired for God

"Houston, we have a God-spot"...

A team of US scientists suggests that the brain of every human being, from believers to atheists, contains at least three "God spots", all linked to religious beliefs and thoughts. More...,25197,25164615-2703,00.html

Monday, March 9, 2009

Stunning BO Quote of the Day

Here's the President today when he was explaining the need for potential to be unlocked by signing the order for gov't to fund embryonic stem cell reearch:

"That potential will not reveal itself on its own. Medical miracles do not happen simply by accident. They result from painstaking and costly research," Obama said. He said the move rejects the "false choice" between science and morality.

Oh, really? So my question is, when did God defer the miracle business to the researchers? That whole Red Sea thing?: just a Hollywood backlot with special effects supplied by...researchers. Loaves and Fish?: A special super-replicating yeast enzyme invented by some old Hebrew....researchers. Walking on water?: Hypercharged ionic hydrogen atoms giving special buoyancy qualities to Jesus' feet created by...researchers. The Resurrection: a harmless little myth disproven by science and morality by...researchers.

The "Costly and Painstaking" part = you, the taxpayer, will pay a lot of money for this. And it will be painful.

Obama Says Government Will Not Open the Door for Human Cloning

Kill All the Dependents

A friend of mine just posted an article you should read up at National Catholic Register. If you click on Catholic Edition on the badge to the right, you'll see the article in its entirety in column 2...The Culture of Death Trojan Horse?

Mark basically expounds on what our death-friendly legislators are up to now in enacting their new Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. What the authors of the new law want you to think is that good, big brother government just assisted the economy by providing needed changes to the health care system and remedies to help America's current financial crisis. In actuality, the new law brings us closer to a more European-ized health care rationing program which will put big brother in charge of determining whether you need that life saving treatment or perhaps putting it off a year or two.

The way I see it? Government's new death-laws act as book ends. Kill off anything dependent on either side of the age spectrum labeling it a "burden" and thereby create & galvanize a "master race" of producers. Sound eerie? I thought so.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

a pre-personal way of being human

“We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-Church, of the Gospel and the anti-Gospel. This confrontation lies within the plans of divine providence. It is a trial which the whole Church… must take up.” John Paul II

FOCA: It's baaaaack...

...and its grown teeth, claws and hair.

Freedom of Choice Act

This is language excerpted from the bill introduced in the 110th Congress, which died in subcommittee. Its sponsor says he will refile the bill this session.

— (a) Statement of Policy — It is the policy of the United States that every woman has the fundamental right to choose to bear a child, to terminate a pregnancy prior to fetal viability or to terminate a pregnancy after fetal viability when necessary to protect the life or health of the woman.

— (b) Prohibition of — A government may not deny or interfere with a woman's right to choose to bear a child; terminate a pregnancy prior to viability; or terminate a pregnancy after viability where termination is necessary to protect the life or health of the woman.

— (c) Civil Action — An individual aggrieved by a violation of this section may obtain appropriate relief (including relief against a government) in a civil action.


That's the summarized language of the bill. Please pay close attention to the words that read: "to protect the life or health of the woman" because these will be played with; maligned, misinterpreted by every court in the land. In fact, this will probably end up in the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual)as a new mental disorder ..."Pregnancy Anxiety Disorder or PAD!" In other words, when a woman is suffering anxiety from an unwanted pregnancy, we will now need to interpret that her life or health are endangered. We will be asked to disregard the life and health of the fetal tissue mass, however. I'm also intrigued with the "fetal viability" terminology. Average Joe Legislator may not know or care that the word Fetus comes from the latin word for "little one" or "offspring". "Viability"=capacity for survival or living. So, in other words, the mental anxiety of the woman will override the baby's right to live. This is nothing new, but it will be considered legal and our compassionate obligation as humans to pass it into law. We will be considered cruel and inhumane monsters if we do not.
Just you wait and see.

Let us pray. Our Father...

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Woman on the Street Chronicles, Ch 1

Last week I told you about my first visit to our "Adopted" Planned Parenthood Abortion Clinic that we are hoping to close with our efforts of prayer, fasting and sacrifices. Today, I returned with my husband for another hour. This time, there were no familiar faces, however we joined up with three other women: 2 young and one elderly woman who had the energy & boldness of St. Joan of Arc. Since I'll be posting on this subject frequently, I've decided to give it the label: "Woman on the Street Chronicles"; translated literally since I am standing only 4 feet from 45mph traffic.

Today's Streetview:

The elderly woman we were praying with is named Francine. I got a feeling that I'll be seeing more of her. She held up a 8" crucifix to the cars exiting the parking lot. There were times she prayed on both knees. She passed out literature to passersby. She didn't say too much to any of us, however her devotion was purposeful and without apology. People did not make eye contact with Francine.

More panhandlers: They seem to think we have cash. I make it a point to not carry anything but my bottled water. Next week, I'll bring back more holy medals.

The Cussers: There were only 2 this time. One of the women I was with had an interesting take. The expletives that emerge from the folks that don't want us here can possibly be likened to the influences of nastiness that also bubbled up from those the Lord confronted when He cast out demons. (Demons don't like being cast out). I'm not suggesting that we're doing anything similar to exorcisms here, but I do feel that some of that awful hatred is from a very dark place.

The Gay Bar: Found out today that there is one of those located right across the street...Pat O's Bunkhouse. More reason for us to be praying.

I find that I look forward to my time at the little green building. Don't get me wrong, I do want this place to close up and never reopen. What is it that draws me? Oddly enough, I think it is purposeful prayer with complete strangers. These people are from all over the valley, but we share a common interest - trying to change a mind; trying to save a life. Being part of their devotion unites me to a something much bigger than me, myself and I. I think this is true of most devotions when done in the spirit of unity of purpose and done with a heart that possesses some degree of gratitude and charity. Did we change any minds today? Did we save any lives today? My wager is no. Perhaps all we did was put a pebble in a shoe.

And we all know how annoying that can be.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Direction of the Holy Spirit

Great day for kites here in AZ! Just like a March in Michigan. Well...almost.

I found out Friday that my boss, the man responsible for my current career as a Liturgist (or Liturgeist as he sometimes refers to me) is leaving us for a new assignment starting July 1. Friday was a difficult day for us as a staff as we realized that we were losing someone that we have all grown to love and admire in his role as our Pastor. Today was equally as difficult for our parish family as he made the announcements to all of the masses this weekend. My personal survey of the parishioners' reactions is the following word from just about all of them: "Why?"

As anticlimactic as it sounds, there were no hidden agendas or astonishing revelations. No scandals, no catastrophes or rockstar promotions. There is but one answer to the "why" question and that answer is, simply, obedience. I can think of no one whom I know personally, who exemplifies this virtue to the magnitude that he does. And he does so with humor and without complaint or fanfare. A commendable trait for a rather confused era, wouldn't you say? It's like giving up life for Lent; like surgery sans anesthetic; like "get in a car and drive and a few years later, I'll tell you where we're going". Of all of the vocations of which I am acquainted, the priesthood is one that continues to become more unfamiliar & baffling to me as time passes. Perhaps this is because it points me to some sublime truths that are meant to help this sinner get to heaven. Perhaps it is because, I, like most people I know, fail miserably at not becoming attached to the person in the role of parish priest. We want him to be "ours" forever, failing to realize that we, too, are not our own.

So for the next few months we'll accept the "lame duckishness" of his leadership. I'm sure he's just thrilled about the prospect of a long exit. (Lent within a lent. Now there's a novel approach!) We will pray for his new parish family and for a peaceful and smooth transition to the work that lies ahead. Meantime, it gives me a chance to consider my own "obediences" and effectiveness at paying attention to the Holy Spirit's driving wind in my life. I'll also consider how truly grateful I am for the privilege of working with such a fine priest; one from whom I've learned so much and that I am honored to call my friend.

God is good....all the time.