Thursday, December 30, 2010

Happy...Holy...Days...

To all my dear readers, wishing you a very Merry Christmastide and a Blessed New Year!


"Frick", "Frack", "Fred", Mary and Gabby, the Fantastic Five!






We had a wonderful Christmas here at home, the kids all enjoyed a Christmas full of both presents that were wrapped and family presence that was enjoyed.  My father came from Idaho, my sister (whom I had not seen  for over a year and a half) came to have dinner with us the week prior to Christmas.  My better half's family enjoyed the holidays together after having to postpone only once due to our "New England blizzard".  It was an awesome Christmas for my family of littles.
"Frick" making Gingerbread houses

Our youngest son, "Fred"
We enjoyed a year of firsts this Christmas.  It was the first time that I really got down and made a point to enjoy moments with each of my children.  It's amazing what happened when I had my fifth baby.  Something that most people obviously experience with their first baby.  Time is precious, and fleeting, and this year I had this strong inner urge to enjoy the preparations of Christmas, to really enjoy them, with my children.  We started some new traditions this year.  We decorated gingerbread houses that were proudly put on display with our nativity scene on the china hutch.  My eldest son and I decorated the trees outside (which I'm sorry to say that I haven't done in the six years I've been here.)  We had an "Advent" Christmas tree that was decorated with hand made ornaments by my children.  I picked three new people to randomly send a Christmas card to, and invited new friends for dinner and merriment.  The children and I went caroling this year to some shut ins in our Parish.  I opted not to work so many Masses this Christmas Eve into Christmas to enjoy more time with my family (in the past I've been hired to sing/play at up to six Masses, this past Christmas, I went to three.)  I got a sense this year, in spite of our economy, that the money can wait, but that my family cannot.  And that's a decision that I will never regret, despite my children's obliviousness to it.
"Frack" making Gingerbread Houses

We have looked three different times at the same house in a neighboring town.  It's a small duplex that sits on a third of an acre.  Unlike most of these mill-style houses though, this one is divided into a 5 bedroom unit and a 1 bedroom efficiency rental.  It seems like a good opportunity for us, a good "next step", as we struggle to make the best decision for our ever-growing family in our ever-shrinking accomodations.  We're going to sit tight for a little while longer and see what the start of 2011 looks like before we make such a major decision.  I ask that you all keep us in your prayers as we discern this point.
Gabby and Dad

Mary
  Gabriella has proven to be an enormous blessing for our family.  Already in her young life she has been shunned by Priests and family alike.  She, the fifth child, must have been 'a mistake in a fit of passion that is a glaring embarrassment for us'.  Yes, that is the stigma we have faced this past fall as she continues her life's journey with our family.  People who were so quick to visit and leave friendly cards and gifts on the arrival of our first baby, now deride us with scorn on our fifth.  They obviously don't know Gabriella the way her brothers, her sister, as her mom and her dad do.  They can't see that big drooly grin that she's developing, they can only see her bobbing head as I carry her in the sling through the grocery store and juggle the other four.  They can't know how well loved and cared for she is by all of her siblings and mom during the day, they can only assume she is ignored and starved for attention since she 'must have been such an afterthought'.  They can't hear her Doctor marvel at how strong and healthy she is, and how lucky we are to have such a beautiful baby, they can only assume that we are investors at our local Pediatric clinic with all the business we provide them.  Well in the end, our laughter of delight will be the only sound left ringing in the ears of the cynics.  For she is indeed a beautiful, happy, healthy, and very much loved new member of our family.  And yet again, God has given me the grace of not remembering life without her, now that she is here.  I look at my children, my greatest gift and joy this Christmas season, and I see in them a future bright with hope and wonder.  That same glimmer of hope burns out all the brighter with each candle that is newly lit in the lives that are born here in our small and poor family.  As I let go of so many superfluous and shallow things to be more and more open to the grace that God has given me in my children, I realize that I am blessed, truly blessed, to have the loving support of my husband - a holy and righteous man of God, to have the outreach of a pro-life community in my Parish and in my friends, to have the grace that even comes to us from family members who may have chosen a different path for us.  In the end I am richly blessed, and grateful for the blessing.

Lord, this coming year, help me not to count the crosses that you ask me to bear, but to give thanks for all the blessings that those crosses symbolize.

Wishing you a prayer-filled, peaceful, Holy Christmastide, and a joyous and prosperous New Year.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Diocesan Concert this Sunday

For my friends in or near CT, this promises to be a great presentation of Vivaldi's works.  Please come and enjoy if you can!

Cathedral Concerts will present "Going Baroque" on Sunday, November 21 at 7:30 PM at St. Patrick Cathedral. Under the direction of Douglas Green,
Cathedral Music Director, the Norwich Diocesan Choir, orchestra, and soloists
will perform a program of 18th century sacred masterworks in the sanctuary of the
cathedral.

The program will feature Antonio Vivaldi's well known "Gloria" along with the
composer's musical setting of Psalm 112 (Beatus Vir). Soloists for both works
will be Carroll Mailhot, Mary Beth Lee and Patricia Johnson. The evening
program will also include Handel's "Let the Bright Seraphim" and Giuseppe
Torelli's "Trumpet Concerto in D" with Ken Tedeschi as trumpet soloist.

Founded in 1978 by its director, Douglas Green, the Norwich Diocesan Choir has
sung at every major diocesan event held at the Cathedral for the past 30 years.
In addition to its liturgical duties, the choir also presents annual concerts of
sacred music. The choir has sung at the National Shrine of the Immaculate
Conception
in Washington D.C.; the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, Baltimore,
MD; the Basilica of St. Patrick, Montreal, Canada; and Blessed Sacrament
Cathedral
in Montego Bay, Jamaica.

The concert is open to the public and donations of all amounts will be accepted at the door. Further information may be obtained by calling the Cathedral Music Office at 860-886-0403 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              860-886-0403      end_of_the_skype_highlighting.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A Baby Story and the First Two Weeks






Wow!  I have suddenly found myself this afternoon with two free hands:)  So I figured I'd give you an update.
Firstly, thank you one and all who prayed and remembered me during my labor and delivery on the first.  I know it was thanks to the enormous amounts of grace that I had such a smooth labor and delivery.  I was trepidatious heading into an induction, but I gave it all up to God, and of course, everything turned out just fine.
Mike and I did everything we could to induce naturally (EVERYTHING:), to no avail.  It was a confusing and exhausting time.  I had three false labors the week prior and lots of signs that I was in labor, but I wasn't progressing.  While I came to expect the false labor, I did not expect a false induction!  I went in on the Thursday before Gabby was born and the Obstretrician had changed his mind about inducing me that day.  He didn't feel comfortable doing that and wanted to wait and see through the weekend.  *sigh*  When I left that appointment he told me I was about 3 cm's dilated and about 60% effaced.
I came in Monday morning and when the midwife checked me she said I was a cent. and a half dilated and only about 50% effaced.  I almost cried as I asked her how I could go backwards.  She told me the measurements were all subjective and not to be too upset by it.  *Yeah right!*  She put me on pitocin at 9 and came in again at noon to check me, and told me I was 3 cms (for real this time:) and about 90% effaced.  She broke my water and told me there was a lot of fluid between the baby's head and my cervix, and that now my contractions should be more productive.  She came in again at about 1 in the afternoon to put an internal monitor on Gabby and told me that my cervix was posterior so it made it difficult to get the monitor on.  I had not changed since the last time she had checked me. 
My girlfriend came with her son (my Godson) and was such a blessing.  She led Mike and I in the Rosary, and they worked as a team to relax me.  My little Godson was cooing and babbling away in the corner, and when I looked over she was holding him and nursing him.  It was so helpful to me, to hear the noises of that precious little one, and to see a mother in action.  It helped motivate me to get my baby out so that I could do the same!  For any non-first time mother who could not do a home birth, I would recommend the experience if its offered to have a newborn infant in your hospital room.  Rather than be distracted by the sterile sounds of a hospital, I was comforted by the sounds of a beautiful baby.  My girlfriend ended up having to leave around 3 (I think?), but was such a help while she was there.

Mike was also amazing!  He was able to get me so relaxed during a contraction that I let go of everything.  I was able to enter a quiet, peaceful place, while my body worked.  I was also able to pull out of it in order to talk to the medical staff or to change positions to help labor.  He never left my side, and he actually worked to go into the same state with me so that we could labor together as he coached me through each contraction.  I remember at one point beginning to feel overwhelmed by the amount of work my body was doing.  I didn't know if I could handle the pitocin the entire time, and was feeling a lot of doubt that I could make it.  Experience kicked in and I remembered that all I could do was to take it one contraction at a time.  It was then that I began to hold my prayer sacrifice intention in mind and a picture of our Lady of Fatima and that helped me to get through the afternoon.

My midwife came back in around 4:30 and offered to check me.  I was hesitant to have her check me, as Mike and I were in such a good place for laboring, and I didn't want to get doubtful again due to "lack of progress" or something else.  Mike was feeding me ice chips, and my midwife got me some ginger ale.  I began to feel nauseous and kept turning down the ginger ale.  I felt that I was in need of some pain meds and began asking for an epidural.  I thought if I could relax enough to doze for a little while I could make the end of my labor and be okay.  The mid wife consented and told me to empty my bladder before the anesthesiologist came.  I went to the bathroom and could not get myself to go (although at that point I had an urge to go the other one!)  I reached down and thought to myself that Gabby was crowning, but again, I doubted myself and didn't say anything to anyone.  I had some more contractions in the bathroom and the nurse helped me though them while Mike talked to the anesthesiologist who had come in.  Mike sat in the chair across the room while the nurse held me up for my epidural.  I had some intense contractions through the epidural, but Mike was able to coach me through them from the chair and I was able to breathe through them.  The last contraction I had while sitting on the bed, I thought for sure I was feeling the need to push, but I didn't want to say anything again, just in case it was the drugs' interaction with my body and not my body.  The anesthesiologist told me to lie down on the bed and that in 10-15 minutes I wouldn't feel pain anymore.  I didn't think I had 10-15 minutes but again, I didn't say anything to anyone.  The nurse was cleaning up and Mike was standing up to talk to her.  On my next contraction I told Mike I was pushing.  I saw his face from across the room go pale and heard him crying "I see a head!!"  The nurse broke into action and yelled to the intercom "I need help!  I need help in here!"  The anesthesiologist, who was standing next to me to make sure the meds were kicking in, jumped almost onto my night stand.  My midwife appeared from nowhere, threw on some gloves and caught Gabby as she came the rest of the halfway out!  I set a new hospital record that day - shortest epidural time of 4 minutes!  Gabby came into the world so quickly and unexpectedly, no one was ready.  The bed was not even down, the bassinette was not set up, nothing was ready for her.  They laid her on my stomach right away, and I stared at her for the first minute in disbelief, like "she's here.  I have a baby?"  then "I have a baby!"

Gabby is a great baby!  She nurses like a champ and sleeps great.  
 
We co-sleep, so I'm not exactly sure about how long she sleeps v eats at night.  But she went in on Monday for her appointment.  Her Doctor was very pleased with her progress.  She went from 7 lbs 15 oz at her last weigh in to 9 lbs 1 oz on Monday.  She's so calm and peaceful, a bundle of joy for our entire family.  The children all love her, and Mary is so excited whenever Gabby is awake and she can giver her baby sister "hugs".  It's the beginning of a beautiful friendship!:)  The boys are all really good with her too.  Lucas loves to hold her, and Philip likes to kiss and love her too. 



We're all resting well at home.  Mike has been a Godsend and has been able to take time off, to work from home, and to work half days to help me with all my appointments and whatever else we need.  Thanks to everyone who has helped us in the past couple of weeks.  Thank you one and all for the prayers and good wishes.  This has been the easiest transition for a baby that we've had so far!  Know that as we continue to settle into a routine and get back into our school year, you are in our prayers!

Love,
Patty and Gabby:)

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Baby is Here!

Sorry this wasn't posted sooner, but...

She's here!


Gabriella Sophia Victoire 
Born on Monday November 1, 2010
5:06 p.m.
Birth Weight 8lbs 7oz
Birth Length 22 inches
And yes folks...She's got red hair!  Hahaha!

Thank you so much for all of your prayers and well wishes.  It was a very positive experience, even though I did end up going in for an induction.  Gabby and I are both doing great!  I am on borrowed time as my arms these days are full of baby (what a blessing:), and will post more as I can...
Know that you are all in my prayers and thoughts, and I will be back on the blogosphere as soon as I can!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Update

Hello there!  Sorry its been a while since I updated on Gabriella;)
Not too much to report.  I'm still pregnant, and I'm getting weary of it.  I so appreciate your prayers right now!  And know that I am praying for all of you as well.
Mike and I went to the hospital on Saturday night, but were released early Sunday morning for "failure to progress".  I've had contractions on and off since then, mostly at night, leaving both (all) of us exhausted the next morning.  And of course the kids are all wild from being on such an erratic routine (if you could call it that) and they've been going to bed later and getting up earlier (this morning we went to bed at 5:30 after a night of contractions, and the kids woke up at 6:30).  I keep having signs and symptoms of being in labor, but no baby to show for it yet.  I am humbled by the false notion of "knowing what I'm doing" as this is my 5th.  I guess its yet another lesson in humility for me.
I've got a pre-natal appointment on  Thursday.  They're going to check me and then if I've still not gone into labor naturally by then, Mike and I are discerning whether or not to let them induce me.  I didn't want another induction, and its a hard decision to make.  But I have the option of laboring hard for a day, or continuing to labor on and off for many days.  I guess its really a non-thought when measured that way.  Pray that I have the grace to accept fully God's will.  Prayer intentions would be immensely helpful at this point.  If you and your loved ones have a specific request that I could carry with me on Thursday, please leave it in the com box, and I will offer my labor for your intentions (that includes if I go into labor naturally before then of course!)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Another soul gone home, leader of the pro-life movement.

Please pray for the repose of the soul of Mildred Fay Jefferson.  The following is a tribute written by Judi Brown from the American Life League.

MILDRED FAY JEFFERSON, M.D. (1926-2010) ... REST IN PEACE
Blue Bar
Mildred Fay Jefferson, M.D., past board member of American Life League, past president of the National Right to Life Committee, The Right to Life Crusade and recipient of 28 honorary degrees, went quietly to meet the Lord late last week at the age of 84.

Mildred Jefferson at Harvard Medical SchoolDr. Jefferson was a heroic, inspiring, yet humble, leader who made her mark on the history books in many ways-including being the first black woman to graduate from Harvard Medical School.

If you were to ask Mildred what her greatest achievement in life had been, she would have told you it was being devoted-with every fiber of her being-to the preborn babies whose lives she defended eloquently from the moment she learned about abortion in the late 1960s until the moment of her death last week.

Not a day went by without her sounding the call to stop abortion-addressing the most egregious human rights violation in the history of mankind-and doing all that was humanly possible for one strong woman to do to expose the criminal act of abortion. She often told me that she prayed daily for God to give her the strength to move forward and to ignite the spark of zealous indignation among the people of this nation so that they would carry the banner for the babies until victory was achieved.

While we cannot lay her to rest knowing that she achieved her goal, we can do so knowing that, without her, this pro-life, human rights movement would never have grown to the historic proportions it has. Nor would we be as motivated to carry on for the babies, for the Lord-their Creator-and for her.

Mildred endeared herself to countless thousands of Americans who will miss her smile, her words of leadership and guidance, her ever-wise advice and her counsel. Through our tears, however, we understand that she would not want us to dwell on her passing, but to carry the torch she lit so many years ago. And she would not want us to look back. She'd say we must always look forward to embrace the challenges that lie ahead for the preborn, the elderly and the infirm.

The world has lost a great leader the likes of which will never pass this way again. We herald her remarkable accomplishments; we celebrate her life of valor, commitment, leadership, deep faith and love; we mourn her passing and we resolve never to stop defending the children who meant the world to Mildred Fay Jefferson, M.D. She gave her life in their service; we will not let her memory die.

Monday, October 11, 2010

St. Gerard's Feast Day is October 16th!

Thank you Lacy from Catholic Icing for your excellent post on St. Gerard!

She made these incredible notecards that you can print out and send to friends and families that are expecting:







You can find them here at Lacy's blog!  Just beautiful.

And for all my dear readers, I found this prayer at Totus Tuus' blog site in her com box, and I include it as a prayer for all of you (for those who are expecting, for Moms, and for those who have asked my prayers in the next couple of weeks for loved ones)!



A Prayer to St. Gerard for Safe Delivery
O great Saint Gerard, beloved servant of Jesus Christ, perfect imitator of your meek and humble Savior, and devoted child of Mother of God, enkindle within my heart one spark of that heavenly fire of charity which glowed in your heart and made you an angel of love.

O glorious Saint Gerard, because when falsely accused of crime, you did bear, like your Divine Master, without murmur or complaint, the calumnies of wicked men, you have been raised up by God as the patron and protector of expectant mothers. Preserve me from danger and from the excessive pains accompanying childbirth, and shield the child which I now carry, that it may see the light of day and receive the purifying and life-giving waters of baptism through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
 
 

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

News from the Nest

My little unborn daughter, Gabriella, has dropped.  I feel like we've both become significantly lighter.  I've been getting braxton hicks contractions in the evenings (during dinner...which kind of makes 'family time' hard:)

But...

Man have I been nesting!  I mean, I've been "polishing the china" type nesting!  Hahahah!  I made home made bread.  From scratch...With flour from a bag that didn't start as bread...LOL!  It's been wonderful....And the kids and Dad all loved the bread!:)

I'll keep you posted as we go, but know that I'm praying for you all, my dear readers (especially those who are expecting their own little miracles too!)  I don't remember my daughter dropping this early, so maybe I've got my first "early bird" on my hands.  All the others were an average of 10-12 days late.  *sigh* Thy will be done Lord.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Yet another tragic anniversary.

China's Thirty Years War Against its Own People Slated to Continue
by Steve Mosher
I was surprised when Beijing decided to celebrate (!) the thirtieth anniversary of the One-Child Policy this week. I thought, quite frankly, that the declaration of a national day of mourning would have been more appropriate.
But I was even more taken aback when the head of China's National Population and Family Planning Commission, a woman named Li Bin, announced that China would continue to enforce this same Draconian policy for “decades” to come.
Decades? This is, after all, a policy that has led to a slaughter of the innocents of Biblical proportions. Hundreds of millions of women have been forcibly aborted and sterilized. Homes have been razed, livestock confiscated, and exorbitant fines levied. In all, 400 million people are missing from the Chinese population as a result of the one-child policy. Like previous Chinese Communist Party-orchestrated disasters such as the Great Leap Forward, or the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, this policy, too, has been a disaster for the Chinese people.
I should know. I was in China when the one-child policy began 30 years ago.
What I saw then, living in an agricultural commune in rural Guangdong, rivals anything that happened in Nazi Germany. One day in 1980 several hundred young mothers, all pregnant with second or higher-order children, were ordered to attend population control meetings. There they were told that they would all have to abort their pregnancies. Those who refused were arrested for the “crime” of being pregnant and locked up until they, too, buckled under the pressure and submitted to an abortion.
At that point they were taken to the local medical clinic and given a lethal injection into their uterus. If their bodies did not expel their dead or dying babies within two days, they were subjected to a cesarean section abortion. Most horrific of all, babies born alive were killed by means of an injection of formaldehyde into the ”soft spot” on the crown of their heads. Those few women who managed to escape arrest and had their babies in secret were assessed heavy fines.
Everything that I witnessed then, from the forced abortions of women in the third-trimester of pregnancy to government-sanctioned infanticide, is still happening now. Those women who manage to avoid the dragnet by going into hiding are now subjected to even heavier fines, which currently run three to five times the family's annual income. Those who can't pay this huge amount have had their homes destroyed and their possessions and livestock confiscated.
Moreover, such a child remains a “black child,” that is, one who does not exist in the eyes of the state. Such children are nonpersons, turned away from the government clinic if they fall ill, barred from attending a government school of any kind, and not considered for any kind of government employment later in life. They are not allowed marry or start families of their own, since the government has decreed that “black children” will not be allowed to reproduce. One generation of illegals is enough.
The Chinese government, supported by foreign population control zealots, believe that its program should be held up as a population control role model for the rest of the world. In reality, it should be roundly condemned for its widespread and systematic violations of human rights, especially the rights of women.
But even those who shy away from defending China's brutal repression of its population sometimes argue in favor of the one-child policy on other grounds. China is often held up—by the UN Population Fund, for example—as a positive example of a county that has been able to slow population growth rates dramatically, and which has achieved prosperity as a result. But to praise the country that has become the ugly poster child of forced abortion and coerced sterilization for the economic growth that these inhuman policies have supposedly generated is not only inconsistent, but also wrong.
China is clearly worse off economically as a result of eliminating from its population 400 million of the most productive and enterprising people the world has ever known. China's astonishing economic performance—its annual GDP growth over the past three decades is close to 10%—is not only a tribute to the tremendous work ethic of the Chinese people, but also has led to labor shortages in China's coastal provinces. Every baby born in China today is a net economic asset. How much more would China have been able to achieve with an even larger population?
Some would argue that adding people would overburden the Chinese environment, but the PRC has been an ecological disaster zone from the time of Mao's forced-pace industrialization programs in the 1950s. The same remains true today, as the Chinese leadership remains far more concerned about the economic growth rate than about ensuring that the populace has clean air to breathe and clean water to drink. Witness the government-mandated shutdown of all factories in the Beijing region in the days leading up to the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. Once the athletes (and the foreign journalists) were gone, the smokestacks resumed spewing out their plumes of black smoke. Nothing had changed. This is to say that the sorry state of China's environment has far more to do with misguided political decisions, and the lack of public accountability for the actions of both government and privately owned businesses, than it does with the number of people.
The one-child policy has been a social disaster as well. Two generations of Chinese have grown up with no siblings, no cousins, and no aunts and uncles. This radical shrinking of the boundaries of the family is, in itself, is a great poverty. Then there is a problem of female infanticide and sex selective abortion, which has eliminated tens of millions of little girls from the population, leaving an equal number of young men without brides to marry. Prostitution, homosexuality, and gang activity are on the rise as a result.
Finally, there is the demographic snare that the one-child policy has set for the Chinese people. Because of the radical cutback in births, the Chinese population is aging faster than any human population in human history. The worker/dependency ratio is unsustainable. How can an only child support two parents and four grandparents in retirement? I am afraid that this will lead the Chinese government to embark upon a “one-grandparent policy” in years to come, in which tens of millions of elderly Chinese will be urged to accept euthanasia, perhaps in return for their only grandchild being allowed to go to college. Forced abortion and forced euthanasia are two sides of the same debased coin.
For all its failings, I do think that the one-child policy has served one important purpose as far as the Chinese Communist Party is concerned: It has helped to maintain the muscular rigor of the one-party dictatorship that rules China. China is a police state, after all, and such a state, to remain strong, must have something to police. Economic controls have been loosened over the past 30 years, so control over other aspects of life must be tightened. The brutal one-child policy is one consequence of such a system's relentless drive for control over people's lives.
Do I think that the Chinese Communist Party really intends to continue, as Li Bin asserts, its one-child policy “decades” into the future? Absolutely. And it will certainly never admit that the policy was a mistake. One-party dictatorships don't make mistakes of such consequence—at least if they want to stay in power.
Steven W. Mosher is the President of the Population Research Institute.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Eternal Rest Grant unto Her O Lord

In Memory of my Mother in Law, on this day, October 3, her birthday.

May the Angels lead you into Paradise.
May the Martyrs come to welcome you.
And take you to the Holy City.
The new and eternal Jerusalem.

Rest in Peace Memere.  We love you and are praying for you!

*Gulp*

I've been cantoring for 15 years this year.  I started cantoring when I was a sophomore in High School as a volunteer in my Parish.  I've been able to help support my family through this ministry up to now.  I've sung in various settings: rowdy high school Masses, Funerals with loved ones wailing for their departed, weddings where people sat ticking the time away until they could get to the reception, regular Sunday Masses where I take it for granted that things just happen.  I've pretty much been around the block, and thought I had seen it all, and then there was tonight.

I was cantoring at my job in a Parish in our Diocese for the 5:00 Vigil Mass on Saturday evening.  I had just sung at a wedding that afternoon, and was able to come home for a 1/2 hour between "gigs" to spend a little of the beautiful afternoon with my family.  My 18 month old daughter is sick with a cold, so I was able to hold her, and tuck her in in front of a movie with a cup of juice before leaving again.  I kissed her on the forehead goodbye, and something told me to kiss my other little ones as well.  My 3 y.o. son was outside playing with walkie-talkies and handed me one which I used until we broke up our signal about a 1/4 mile from our house.  I said "Goodbye Honey, I love you.  Be good for Dad" about 10 times until that signal was lost.  I couldn't help but think in a poignant way what it would be like if those were the last words I said to him.

I got to Church, warmed up, reviewed the Psalm and Gospel Acclamation, and proceeded upstairs with the organist.  I sat down in the front of the Church, waited for the Prelude to end, and then got up to make the announcements and start the opening hymn.  I noticed him immediately.  He was across the aisle from me, two pews from the front, a man  bigger than my husband, looking very much agitated and restless.  I started singing, and he did too.  Loudly.  Screaming the lyrics.  About 1/2 step off and about 1 measure (approx. 4 words) behind me and the congregation.  I knew something was up at this point.  I ignored him, began using my internal metronome, and plowed on.  I could not outsing him and knew it was against my ministry to try, so I backed off the mic enough to keep from competing, while maintaining a steady voice to keep my organist from becoming too distracted.  I prayed my S.O.S prayer to the Holy Spirit to keep me from breaking, and forged on ahead.  We sang all the verses of the Hymn to accomodate the Procession, and it felt endless.  Something was not right about this man, and I immediately felt sympathy for him.  I tried not to let it affect me, but it was a prayer to make that happen.

The opening prayer was said, and everyone sat for the first reading.  Turning so I could focus on the ambeau, I listened to the first reading.  I was again distracted by this man, whom I could see in my periphery, swaying in his pew rocking back and forth, back and forth, and drumming his fingers violently on the pew beside him.  I saw the lector finish her reading, gave the appropriate response, waited until she returned to her seat, and then said a Hail Mary.  Usually I use this prayer as a spacer to give adequate time between the readings.  At this time, I was fervently asking for the Blessed Mother's intercession.  I got up, walked to the ambeau and began the Psalm.  When I signaled the congregation to come in, there he was again, screaming the lyrics, a half measure off.  I was grateful he was not trying to sing the verses with me (I have had that happen before too!), and I used that time to pray through the Psalm and gather strength for the refrain, ironically "If today you hear God's voice, harden not your hearts."  I finished the Psalm, and walked over to the lectern, and turned my attention back to the lector who was beginning the second reading. 

He was getting more agitated and upset, this time he began playing with something in the pocket of his hoodie sweatshirt.  He kept swaying in his pew, and began mumbling to himself.  I kept my sight on the lector, but my attention was divided.  The lector finished, returned to her seat, and my cue to start the Gospel Acclamation.  Father began the Procession and broke it to approach this man.  My heart was filled with pity when I heard him say that he just "wanted to sing" because his mother had died and he was grieving for her.  "Father, you should know her, the Mother Mary?"  I kept on singing, trying to give my organist visual clues in his "rear view mirror" to keep the acclamation music going.  Father broke with this man, and went to proclaim the Gospel.  As I stood beside the lectern listening to the Gospel, I was relieved to see this man had calmed somewhat.  And then I saw this man become agitated once again.  He began swaying in his pew, looking around him at other people, and playing with the pocket of his hoodie.  What did he have in his pocket?  What if it were a gun?  My heart froze as I saw him pull something shiny and black from out of his pocket.  "Thank you God for allowing me to kiss all my children and my husband goodbye", that was my first thought.  I made an act of contrition and prayed ardently for the state of my soul, having wished I had made it to confessions held before Mass that day.  I began to wonder what I should do.  At the close of the Gospel, and with the realization that the man had pulled out his cell phone, I made it back to my seat.  Again, I watched Father, but began to pray the "St. Michael's Prayer."  My adrenaline must have affected my unborn child, as she began to stir violently within me.  I glanced above Father's head to see the Church's statue of Madonna and child. I begged the Blessed Mother, that if I were to go today, that she would allow me to carry my unborn baby through the gates of Heaven.  The Church was silent, everyone was focused on this man, who by this time was mumbling louder and louder, he began to pull his hair, and never stopped swaying in his pew.

Suddenly, during the Intercessions, this man stopped swaying.  He became still and calm, composed even.  I could hardly breathe as I walked to the lectern to announce the Offertory Hymn.  I had a fleeting thought as to whether or not I should walk to the back of the Church and sing this hymn in the choir loft with the organist.  No, I resolved to stay, and prayed to God for all in our Church that evening.  I began to sing, and right on cue, he was singing too.  A little less scream, a little more off in timing.  I forged on ahead, composed in prayer.  I was horrified when I saw Father approach this man a second time.  The man's face turned deathly white, and then terribly red.  He began talking so vehemently that spittle was flying into Father's face.  He raised both fists and began shaking them at Father.  I watched in horror as I saw two men from the back rush to Father's side.  I thought for sure Father was going to be struck.  Again, Father quickly broke with this man to receive the Offertory gifts.  We ended the Hymn, and I turned to pray with Father.  It was then I noticed the Altar Server.  She was a small 9 y.o. girl, and she was visibly scared.  Next to the table where the cruets and such are kept for Mass, she was hovering, and staring longingly at her mother and father about 3 pews from the front, across the Aisle from this man.  I longed to reach out to her, to show her support, but I knew not to break this already distracting Mass.  I sang through the "Holy, Holy", debating in my head whether or not to kneel with this young girl in front of the Altar while she rang the bells, to show solidarity with her, and to protect her if I could.  I knew that would be a huge distraction for Father and the congregation, so I opted to kneel in my normal spot in front of the Tabernacle, behind and to the right of the Altar.  The little girl knelt and wiped away her silent tears. My heart wrenched within me to see this little one crying, and I prayed for her.  I got up to lead the Eucharistic Acclamation and the Great Amen.  This man was not kneeling, but was still again.  He wore the most sinister, twisted look upon his face.  We all stood to say the Our Father, made it through the Doxology, proceeded to the Lamb of God and the Sign of Peace.  I made a point to give peace to the little girl altar server, and she visibly calmed a bit.  The man stopped singing with me through the Lamb of God, he never opened his hymnal for the Communion Hymn, he just sat and stared violently at Father.  I noticed as I turned to announce the Communion Hymn that two police officers were standing in the back of the Church.  Obviously someone had made their way out to call them, and they stood at attention at the doors in the back.  We finished Communion, had a moment of reflection, Father made a few announcements, and gave the final blessing.  As the Procession lined up in front of the Altar, the man sent a steely gaze through Father's back.  I saw him collect saliva in his mouth, as if preparing to spit on him, thought the better of it, and let Father exit in peace.  When the Collect had departed, the man turned his attention back on me.  He continued to try to get my attention, and I avoided his gaze.  He just watched me as I finished the Hymn and then I saw him leave his pew as I was kneeling down to say the "St. Michael's Prayer".  He walked in front of me, slowing as if he wanted to say something.  I did not bring my head up to meet his gaze, and after a moment he walked out.  Noticing there were police at the back of the Church, he turned and exited out a side door.

Thanks be to God, I was able to go home and see my family for one more day. 

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Midwife Who Saved Hundreds of Newborn Babies from Nazis to be Honored

By Patrick B. Craine
ROME, September 29, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The late Polish midwife Stanislawa Leszczynska will be honoured in a display at the 5th World Prayer Congress for Life in Rome next month for her heroic efforts in saving hundreds of newborn babies from a brutal end at Auschwitz.
Before she arrived at the camp in April 1943, all the newborns of prisoners in the infamous Nazi concentration camp were drowned and allowed to be ripped apart by rats before his or her mother’s eyes.
But, as Matthew M. Anger reports in his article ‘Midwife at Auschwitz’, Leszczynska refused to carry out the Germans’ order to kill the babies – even opposing the infamous Dr. Mengele – and, amazingly, was allowed to carry on unimpeded.
During her time at Auschwitz, Leszczynska delivered over 3,000 babies.  Half of those were murdered and another thousand died from the horrible conditions in the camp.  But those with blond hair and blue eyes, about 500, were sent to be raised as Germans, and another 30 survived the camp.
In her ‘Raport from Auschwitz,’ Leszczynska described how the pregnant women were plagued with intense hunger and extreme cold, and faced a severe lack of medicine and water.  She and others had to work day and night to keep away the rats, which would gnaw off the noses, ears, fingers, and feet of the sick.  “Rats with their diet of human flesh grew to sizes of large cats,” she said.
During Leszczynska’s entire time at the camp, no mother or baby died under her care.  Asked by her supervising doctor to report on the death rate, she reported this fact to his astonishment.  “Lagerarzt looked at me in disbelief,” she recounts.  “Even the most sophisticated German clinics at universities, he said, could not claim such a success rate.”
While she suggested in her ‘Raport’ that "the emaciated organisms were too barren a medium for bacteria,” Anger reports that her children and other inmates called it a miracle.
Leszczynska was able to use a secret tattoo under the newborns’ armpit to help many of the families reunite after the war.  “As long as a newborn was together with the mother, motherhood itself created a ray of hope. Separation with the newborn was overwhelming,” she said.  “The thought of a possibility of future reunion with their children helped many women go through this ordeal.”
The cause for Leszczynska’s beatification in the Catholic Church is underway.  The Stanislawa Leszczynska Foundation, led by members of her family, is working on a feature film about her life.
The 5th World Prayer Congress for Life, organized by Human Life International and a number of other major pro-life organizations, will be held in Rome from October 5th to 10th, featuring many of the major figures in the worldwide pro-life movement and various high-level Vatican officials.
LifeSiteNews Editor-in-Chief John-Henry Westen will address the Congress on how to communicate the Catholic Church’s teaching on sexuality in a hostile culture.

Click here to register to attend the Congress.

Latest Papal Outreach to Pro Life Movement

Holy Father Urges Participation in Pro-Life Vigil
US Bishops Mark Respect Life Month
VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 30, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is calling on all Catholics to join in a Vigil for All Nascent Human Life, to be celebrated in local parishes and dioceses Nov. 27.
The Pope will celebrate the vigil in St. Peter's Basilica on the eve of the First Sunday of Advent, and is requesting "all diocesan bishops (and their equivalent) of every particular church preside in analogous celebrations involving the faithful in their respective parishes, religious communities, associations and movements," a communiqué from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops reported.
The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments and the Pontifical Council for the Family collaborated in creating an outline for the vigil, and the U.S. bishops' conference is developing resources for the parishes.
Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, Texas, chairman of the episcopal conference's pro-life committee, highlighted the "unprecedented" nature of this request from the Pontiff.
In a statement written for Respect Life Month, which begins Friday, the prelate said, "I heartily encourage all Catholics, whether at home or traveling over the Thanksgiving holidays, to take part in this special prayer." (In the United States this year, the First Sunday of Advent is the Sunday after Thanksgiving.)
He noted that the purpose "according to the Holy See is to 'thank the Lord for his total self-giving to the world and for his Incarnation which gave every human life its real worth and dignity,' and to 'invoke the Lord's protection over every human being called into existence.'"
The statement also provided a reflection on the theme of this Respect Life Month, which is: "The Measure of Love Is to Love Without Measure."
"With over 1 million innocent children dying from abortion each year, the plague of abortion remains embedded in our culture," Cardinal DiNardo stated.
Widening rift
He observed that "in many areas of public policy, the rift continues to widen between the moral principles expressed by a majority of Americans and the actions of government."
The prelate explained: "For example, Americans oppose public funding of abortion by wide margins, with 67% opposing federal funding of abortion in health care in one recent poll.
"In early 2009, Catholics and others sent over 33 million postcards, and countless e-mails and letters to members of Congress, urging them to 'retain laws against federal funding and promotion of abortion.'
"Yet in March of this year, Congress passed a health care reform law that allows for federal funding of abortion in some programs and could pressure millions of Americans to help subsidize other people's abortions through their health care premiums."
"Defenseless human life is also placed at risk today in the name of science, when researchers seek to destroy human life at its embryonic stage for stem cell research -- and demand the use of all Americans' tax dollars to support this agenda," the cardinal stated.
He noted that "in a recent poll commissioned by the Catholic bishops' Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities, 57% of respondents favored funding only stem cell research avenues that do not harm the donor, using stem cells from cord blood, placentas, and other 'adult' tissues."
"Only 21% favor funding all stem cell research, including research that requires killing embryonic human beings," the prelate added.
"Yet the current administration issued guidelines last year to fund human embryonic stem cell research, and some in Congress are preparing legislation to ensure continued funding despite a federal court's finding that these guidelines may violate the law," he warned.
Cardinal DiNardo affirmed, "Becoming a voice for the child in the womb, and for the embryonic human being at risk of becoming a mere object of research, and for the neglected sick and elderly is one of many ways we can teach our fellow citizens that 'The Measure of Love is to Love Without Measure.'"

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Charity and Truth: On Marriage

So I've been having a debate in my head for the past year (or longer) on which element in the Faith is more important:  Truth or Charity.  I engaged in a lot of debate with Catholics during the 2008 presidential elections, and it was hard for me sometimes to discern whether I should promote the truth in my witness or to hold back to allow time for spiritual growth in charity.  I've learned a lot since then, but I still struggle with this question - when is it more important to promote the truth for the good of another's soul, as opposed to withholding the truth for a time when one isn't spiritually in a position to receive it out of charity.  My husband posits that in Heaven we will more clearly recognize that Truth is indeed and in fact Charity, and I can't wait to see that!  But for now in my human weakness, I continue on with my fellow human family and wonder.  It's so easy to say "truth always", but I've seen a lot of well intentioned Catholics throw tenements of the Faith at people who were not spiritually ready to receive them, and have been turned away.  I've been guilty of this myself.  I think there are grace filled times for truth in evangelization, and there are grace filled times for charity.  For me, it comes down to having the spiritual where-with-all to discern the different points of grace along the way.  When do we respond to a person in Truth?  When do we respond to a person in Charity?  The only way to discern this is through the veil of humility, the key to witnessing the Faith.  When we're really close to a person, and we'd like to sacrifice the Truth out of fear of their rejection, we need to pray for the gift of humility to help us promote the Truth in spite of another's reaction or rejection.  When we're really on fire with the Faith and we're ready to lead in the Crusade, we need to pray for the gift of humility to help us act charitably so that we are kinder and gentler to those around us who might be struggling.  I guess when I get really good at evangelizing, those two distinct facets of the Faith will be indistinguishable. 

Another analogy of Truth and  Charity in action could be found in a marriage.  The man of the household, the husband, personification of Truth, leads and guides the way.  The woman, the wife, personification of Charity, supports and lives the Truth with her husband.  I feel that in a good marriage  one does not seek to dominate the other, but both strive to live for the other, lending their virtue one to the other on the path toward Heaven.  I was made for my husband, for the vocation of our marriage.  Therefore I have gifts and strengths that aid my husband along his way to Heaven.  I have weaknesses and faults that my husband was made to help me correct.  I believe this is true in every Catholic marriage that lives the Holy Sacrament.  The husband in a Sacramental marriage should not seek to dominate his wife, just as the wife in a Sacramental marriage should not seek to undermine her husband.  Thus, in the end, Truth and Charity must work together, equally for the good, in order to become more fully Catholic.

An Unhappy Anniversary

RU-486: Ten Years After


Today, September 28, 2010, marks the ten-year anniversary of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval of Mifepristone (popularly known as RU-486). RU-486 is the only drug the FDA has approved for the sole intention of inducing abortions.

While proponents often claim that abortion should be “safe, legal and rare,” one could make a strong case that chemical abortions, while indeed legal, have over the last ten years posed major safety concerns including infection, life-threatening bleeding and even maternal death.

Chemical abortions have become anything but rare. Despite this dubious safety record, it appears to be a major goal of the abortion industry to increase the number of chemically induced abortions.


By way of explanation, RU-486 is in a class of drugs called selected progesterone receptor modulators (SPRM). RU-486 is “effective” because it blocks the necessary action of progesterone, the key hormone that a baby needs to implant in the uterus and survive during the first ten weeks of development. In this way RU-486 cuts off nutrition to a developing unborn child.

Looking back at the spring and summer of 2000, the FDA approval process of RU-486 was flawed, rushed, politicized and deviated from the FDA norm in a variety of ways, including the use of inferior clinical trials to support its safety. For example, when the FDA’s advisory panel voted to approve RU-486 in 1996, American trial data was neither finished nor sufficient, so the FDA relied on French data primarily, which is atypical.

Worse yet, this same data had been found by the FDA to be marked by “carelessness,” “fraud” and “evidence tampering.” Those were the FDA’s own words! This is one example of many.

Over the course of the next six years story after story hit the news about the serious side effects of RU-486—the most grievous ones being death. One of the most well-known tragedies involved the death of Holly Patterson, an 18-year-old from California. In 2003, Holly received RU-486 at a Planned Parenthood clinic and died a week later from septic shock.

In her father’s words, “The medical community treats this as a simple pill you take, as if you’re getting rid of a headache. The procedure, the follow-ups, it’s all too lackadaisical. The girl gets a pill. Then she’s sent home to do the rest on her own. There are just too many things that can go wrong.”

Holly is only one of many negatively impacted by this “safe” and legal drug. In fact, as recent as 2006, only six years following its approval, the FDA admitted that they had received over 1,000 adverse-event reports related to RU-486. Of these, 116 cases involved blood transfusions, 232 required hospitalizations, and most grimly, 8 were fatal incidents. As shocking as these numbers are, they are a gross underestimation because approximately only 10% of problems with drugs are submitted in reports to the FDA.

Yet despite concerns about safety, use of RU-486 is increasing. A recent New York Times article touted the growing popularity of the drug. One group recently reported that the number of Planned Parenthood Clinics providing chemical abortions with RU-486 has increased over the last few years: in 2007, 108 facilities administered RU-486 whereas in 2009, the number had increased to 131.

One reason for the increase in RU-486 abortions is that Planned Parenthood has begun a process called “telemed abortions.” In these abortions, the doctor is no longer physically present with the patient when prescribing RU-486 and its accompanying drug. The doctor does it by closed circuit TV.

The procedure is attractive to abortionists given their declining ranks. With telemeds, fewer doctors can prescribe a greater number of abortions. Unfortunately, fewer doctors also mean reduced patient oversight, attention and care. For example, the doctor might be in another state when the woman having the abortion needs critical attention—like a transfusion caused by a failed abortion or damaged ongoing pregnancy—and has to go to an emergency room. Despite the gross inferiority of this procedure, in May 2010, Planned Parenthood announced a five-year plan to nationalize “telemed” abortions.

As RU-486 celebrates its ten-year anniversary, one thing is ironic. The abortion movement promised decades ago that women having abortions would have the best medical attention—no more unsupervised, lonely abortions with women bleeding away in back alleys. Well, now with chemical, and especially with telemed abortions, women have less medical attention and still bleed away, having a lonely, unsupervised abortion over a toilet. Progress for women’s health? No. Instead, pursuing an agenda of increasing chemical abortions at all costs, the abortion industry is reverting women’s health back to the Dark Ages.


Jeanne Monahan is the director of the Center for Human Dignity at the Family Research Council. Prior to FRC, Jeanne worked for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in the Office of the Secretary. She has an undergraduate degree in psychology from James Madison University and a Masters degree in the theology of marriage and family from the Pope John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family.

This post can be found here.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

So I'm in our bedroom...

...hanging out on the blogosphere as my husband prepares to spend some time praying at the local abortuary for the 40 Days for Life campaign.  Our Diocese does  not allow women to go after sunset to the Clinic alone, so my husband looks for hours at night to go so that there is that "male presence" which sadly is very much needed for everyone's safety.

Our oldest sneaks out of bed, and gives Dad his send off "Good night Dad.  You're going to pray?"

My husband responds that yes, he is going to pray for the babies.

"And Mom says you're going to stay awake for 40 days?!" 

Hahaahha!  I guess I have to be careful in how I toss things out so carelessly around this little detective:)

Changing the world, one diaper at a time.


Sunday, August 15, 2010


REAL AMERICA
Why housewives will save the world
Exclusive: Patrice Lewis explains how 'glued together' families build strong nations

Posted: August 07, 2010
1:00 am Eastern
By Patrice Lewis


Once in a while a reader is astonished to learn that I am, quite literally, nothing more than what I've always claimed to be: an opinionated north Idaho housewife. I am not a journalist, or a reporter, or anything loftier than a keeper of the home. I use the denigrated term "housewife" deliberately because I am proud to be a member of this elite group.
If you associate housewives with dull women too dumb to do anything but wipe noses and clean toilets, I'm here to tell you otherwise. I will even make the extraordinary declaration that it is housewives who will save the world. Or at least, our nation.
The standard assumption about housewives (besides the obligatory doubts about our intelligence and educational level) is that our husbands make so much money that we can "afford" to stay home with the kids. This assumption always sends us into peals of laughter because it is so seldom true. Let's face it, the term "thrifty housewife" was coined for a reason.
Housewives spend years learning to be thrifty. We shop at Goodwill, not Nordstrom. We mend holes and patch jeans. We purchase basic food items and cook from scratch. Most of us don't do this because we are green and environmentally conscious. We do it because it's cheap and it keeps us home with the kids.
Many housewives supplement their husband's income with cottage industries. I do freelance writing. I know a woman who makes brassiere holsters for handguns (yes really … this is Idaho, remember). Yet another woman makes reusable feminine hygiene products. Yet another woman sells items on eBay.
Perhaps the most encouraging film on marriage of our time -- own it for yourself: "Fireproof"
None of us is sitting around watching soap operas and eating bonbons. We're too busy making our home welcoming, too involved in looking for additional ways to earn money, too occupied in finding yet more techniques to trim the household budget so the bacon stretches further.
We praise our husbands for bringing home this bacon, however modest in size it may be. It's our job to stretch that bacon so it lasts the whole month.
A housewife takes her marital vows seriously and does whatever it takes to make her husband feel like a man by giving him respect, dedication, love, faithfulness, a warm home and happy children. Housewives don't (or shouldn't) speak disparagingly of their husbands. We praise them. Praised men are happy men.
And that's why I believe the housewives of America will save this nation.
When the chips are down, the housewives rise up. We work harder, stretch the dollars further and discover creative ways to do even more things from scratch. We become cleverer and more resourceful at "making do."
These may seem like such small, trivial things. How will baking our own bread or making our own laundry detergent save the nation? It may not … but it could save the family. And if a family is saved, then bit by bit, family by family, the nation is saved. See the logic?
What I mean is this. On a massive scale, our nation's problems are far beyond our individual ability to do anything about them. Housewives cannot stop the insane spending spree our government has embarked on during the last 50 years. We cannot keep the economy from its free fall.
But we can help ourselves. Inch by inch, foot by foot, we can keep our family afloat. If our husband loses his job, we tell him he's still manly and sexy. We give him the confidence to look for work. We tighten an already tight belt even more. We pick up part-time employment. We write more columns, make more holsters, sew more feminine hygiene products and clinch another eBay sale. We stroke our husband's fevered brow and whisper that it will be OK, we'll weather this together, we'll stumble along doing whatever it takes to keep our family whole. We don't let the cruel winds of financial hardship rip our family apart. We are the glue that binds it.
You see, the role of a housewife is so much more than wiping noses and cleaning toilets. Feminists have looked with contempt at housewives for decades and have tried to convince our daughters that only lofty careers and hefty paychecks can fulfill a woman. But housewives know better.
(Column continues below)
Men work hard at jobs they often dislike to provide for their families. For a man, it is not his job that grants him identity, fulfillment and meaning; it is his wife's praise and admiration. The wise housewife honors her man for his dedication and sacrifice. The smart housewife becomes the kind of woman her man wants to come home to. This is the glue.
A glued-together family stays together no matter where they are. If they are evicted from their home because they can't afford the mortgage, then they rent a cheap single-wide. The housewife will then turn it into a beautiful haven because she knows it is not furnishings but love that makes a home.
When the hurricane roars during an economic storm, it will be the thrifty housewife who will bear her family aloft through hard times. Her frugality, common sense and familial glue will keep the boat afloat until it lands on a more fruitful shore. As the waves settle, she will continue to bind, weave and mesh her family into a seamless harmonious whole. In return, she is blessed a thousandfold for her actions.
On the surface, it may not seem like wiping noses and cleaning toilets can have any significant impact on saving our nation. After all, these acts are not spectacular achievements like winning a court case, negotiating a contract or curing someone of cancer. But the foundation of a nation is a solid family unit. It is the humble, collective efforts of housewives that build those solid, happy families. Nation upon nation is built on this foundation. Without housewives, such a foundation would not – could not – exist.
Don't thank us. We're just doing our job. But please, remember to put the toilet seat down.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Churching of Women

I had heard of this custom, mostly as a young girl from my mother who disdained the concept of it. She told me that it was distasteful for the Church to consider women unclean due to the physiological repercussions of labor. They bled, therefore they were unclean. My mom saw this as archaic and masochistic, to say the least. My dear husband, in yet another great yard sale find, found a "Manual of Prayers" book dated 1889, that gives the prayer form for this ritual, and I became intrigued when I read through the beautiful ceremony. I don't know yet if I will have the opportunity to "get Churched" myself after my little one is born, but I thought I'd leave the prayers here for my dear friends who are about to re-enter the joys of motherhood (and those who just love beautiful rituals:) to peruse.



From CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA:

A blessing given by the Church to mothers after recovery from childbirth. Only a Catholic woman who has given birth to a child in legitimate wedlock, provided she has not allowed the child to be baptized outside the Catholic Church, is entitled to it. It is not a precept, but a pious and praiseworthy custom (Rituale Romanum), dating from the early Christian ages, for a mother to present herself in the Church as soon as she is able to leave her house (St. Charles Borromeo, First Council of Milan), to render thanks to God for her happy delivery, and to obtain by means of the priestly blessing the graces necessary to bring up her child in a Christian manner. The prayers indicate that this blessing is intended solely for the benefit of the mother, and hence it is not necessary that she should bring the child with her; nevertheless, in many places the pious and edifying custom prevails of specially dedicating the child to God. For, as the Mother of Christ carried her Child to the Temple to offer Him to the Eternal Father, so a Christian mother is anxious to present her offspring to God and obtain for it the blessing of the Church. This blessing, in the ordinary form, without change or omission, is to be given to the mother, even if her child was stillborn, or has died without baptism (Cong. Sac. Rit., 19 May, 1896).

The churching of women is not a strictly parochial function, yet the Congregation of Sacred Rites (21 November, 1893) decided that a parish priest, if asked to give it, must do so, and if another priest is asked to perform the rite, he may do so in any church or public oratory, provided the superior of said church or oratory be notified. It must be imparted in a church or in a place in which Mass is celebrated, as the very name "churching" is intended to suggest a pilgrimage of thanksgiving to the church, and as the rubrics indicate in the expressions: "desires to come to the church", "he conducts her into the church", she kneels before the altar", etc. Hence the Second Plenary Council of Baltimore (No. 246) prohibits the practice of churching in places in which Mass is not celebrated.







The mother, kneeling in the vestibule, or within the church, and carrying a lighted candle, awaits the priest, who, vested in surplice and white stole, sprinkles her with holy water in the form of a cross. Having recited Psalm 23, "The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof", he offers her the left extremity of the stole and leads her into the church, saying: "Enter thou into the temple of God, adore the Son of the Blessed Virgin Mary who has given thee fruitfulness of offspring." She advances to one of the altars and kneels before it, whilst the priest, turned towards her, recites a prayer which expresses the object of the blessing, and then, having sprinkled her again with holy water in the form of the cross, dismisses her, saying: "The peace and blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, descend upon thee, and remain forever. Amen."


Our help is in the name of the Lord.
[R] Who made heaven and earth.
[Ant.] She shall receive.

Psalm 23
The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof: the world and all they that dwell therein.
For He hath founded it upon the seas: and hath prepared it upon the rivers.
Who shall ascend into the mountain of the Lord: or who shall stand in His holy place?
He that hath clean hands and a pure heart: who hath not taken his soul in vain, nor sworn deceitfully to his neighbor.
He shall receive a blessing from the Lord; and mercy from God his Saviour.
This is the generation of them that seek Him: of them that seek the face of the God of Jacob.
Lift up your gates, O ye princes, and be ye lifted up, O eternal gates: and the King of Glory shall enter in.
Who is this King of Glory? the Lord strong and mighty: the Lord mighty in battle.
Lift up your gates, O ye princes, and be ye lifted up, O eternal gates: and the King of Glory shall enter in.
Who is this King of Glory? the Lord of hosts. He is the King of Glory.

Glory be to the, (etc.)...

[Ant.] She shall receive a blessing from the Lord, and mercy from God her Saviour; for this is the generation of them that seek the Lord.

Then, reaching the left end of the stole into the woman's hand, the Priest introduces her into the church, saying:

Enter thou into the temple of God, adore the Son of this Blessed Virgin Mary, who hath given thee fruitfulness of offspring.



She, having entered, kneels before the Altar, and prays, giving thanks to God for the benefits bestowed upon her; the Priest says:








Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Our Father (inaudibly).
[V.] And lead us not into temptation.
[R.] But deliver us from evil.
[V.] O Lord, save Thy handmaid,
[R.] O my God, who putteth her trust in Thee.
[V.] Send her help, O Lord, from Thy holy place.
[R.] And defend her out out of Sion.
[V.] Let not the enemy prevail against her.
[R.] Nor the son of iniquity draw nigh to hurt her.
[V.] O Lord, hear my prayer.
[R.] And let my cry come unto Thee.
[V.] The Lord be with you.
[R.] And with thy spirit.

Let us pray.

Almighty, Everlasting God, who, through the Delivery of the Blessed Virgin Mary, hast turned the pains of the faithful at childbirth into joy: look mercifully on this Thy handmaid, who cometh in gladness to Thy temple to offer up her thanks: and grant that after this life, through the merits and intercession of this same Blessed Mary, she may be found worthy to attain, together with her offspring, unto the joys of everylasting happiness. Through Christ our Lord.
[R.] Amen.

Thanksgiving After Childbirth
Gracious God, by whose providence we are made, who formest us in secret, who beholdest us when we are yet imperfect, and in whose book all shall be written: I humbly beseech Thee to accept this my acknowledgment of Thy power, and to receive this my most hearty praise and thanksgiving, which I now offer to Thy divine Majesty, for Thy favor and goodness towards me. Behold, O Lord, what Thine own hands have fashioned; and grant that this infant, which Thou hast made by Thy power, may be preserved by Thy goodness and, through the grace of Thy Holy Baptism, may be made a living member of Thy Church and be carefully brought up to serve Thee in all piety and honesty. Through the merits of Thy dearly beloved Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Saturday, September 11, 2010

9/11 and why we shouldn't build that Mosque

This passage is taken from The Light Weigh cookbook Building the Family Cookbook by Suzanne Fowler.

"...a date that should be the most famous in history, September 11th, 1683."  This quote is taken from Hilaire Belloc's book The Great Heresies and was written in 1938.  Hilaire Beloc was referring to the Battle of Vienna where 250,000 Turks had laid siege to Vienna, Austria.  The Islamic forces were camped outside Vienna, with a better army and artillery than the Polish Catholic forces they came to conquer.  The Polish army was under the command of the King of Poland, Jan Sobieski.  The Islamic forces outnumbered the Polish Catholic soldiers nine to one.

Pope Innocent VI realized the gravity of the situation and called for an emergency Rosary Crusade.  Every Polish soldier was given a Medal of Mary before the battle began and went into battle with the cry, "Jesus, Mary, help!  Help us!  Be at our sides!"  Miraculously, the Catholic King of Poland and his troops defeated the Turks.  This defeat was critical because it kept Islamic forces from sweeping thorugh all of Europe.  Hilaire Belloc writes, "But the peril remained, Islam was still immensely powerful and within a few marches of Austria and it was not until the Great Victory of Prince Eugene at Zenta (on September 11th) in 1697 and the capture of Belgrade that the tide really turned...at the end of the seventeenth century."

The September 11th date in 2001 was chosen because of its signficance to the Islamic world.  The East remembers what the West forgets.  These victories, which occurred less than one hundred years before the Declaration of Independence, are forgotten to us; yet they changed the course of the world forever.

Talk to your children about the heroism that has been exhibited on this date throughout history.  The Catholic King of Poland and his Polish soldiers; Prince Eugene of Zenta and his soldiers; both going up against incredible odds, armed with their weapons, but more importantly armed with their Catholic Faith! These soldiers were also protected by the prayers of thousands and thousands and thousands of people who were praying the Rosary!  Remember the heroism of St. John Gabriel Perboyre, who suffered like Christ for our Roman Catholic Faith.  He would not trample on the cross to relieve his own suffering!  Remember all of the men, women, and children who died in the September 11th attack on the United States of America in the year 2001.  Many of them died in the line of duty, others were going to work to support their families, others gave their lives in a fight to take one of the airplanes back, so it could not be used to hurt more people.  Let us learn fromt he victories of the past on this date.  The Rosary was critical to winning the battles that changed the world.  The Rosary is as critical today as it ever has been!  Please pray a Rosary today with your family; for our Faith, for the Holy Father, for the people who have died, for our country and for our enemies, that their hearts may be converted, that they too will know the love and hope of Jesus Christ!

September 11, 1649 is the date of the massacre by the English General Oliver Cromwell and his forces, in Drogheda, Ireland.  On that day three thousand men, women, and children were murdered, because they were Roman Catholics.

**Note:  The following is my thought on the above.**
I know that as an American I'm called through my Patriotic duty to be open to everyone's Constitutional rights.  And I know that this Imama Rauf is within his rights when working to build this Mosque.  He can hide behind his "inter-religious worship center" all he likes, but we all know it is what it is - a Mosque.  On the 9/11 memorial.  In the place where thousands of innocent people died.  Because of the violence of jihadists who profess his relgion.  I know I'm supposed to take all that in view before I declare judgment.  Well here's my judgment, I don't like it.  When the concentration camps of Aushwitz were declared a Jewish memorial, did Nazis come in and say that in fairness, a German National Church was going to be built to recognize the German men and women who died who were of that faith?  They wouldn't have dared.  But as Suzanne Fowler so beautifully points out "The East remembers what the West forgets."  We as a society are so quick to forget international history, that we would declaredly consider ourselves in this Nation divorced from it.  Giantly divorced and sleeping from it.  No, this Mosque is not a means of healing between the Islamic East and the Christian West.  It is an attempt to dupe a culture who so wants to be duped.  If that were not the case then why would this Mosque have any ties with the Mosque in Cordoba?  Linking those names has no sense of irony for us does it?  Look closely at this beautiful Mosque in Cordoba -


does it remind you of anything?  Yes!  Absolutely!  Our Faith!  This "Mosque" was built as a Basilica in Spain before it was ransacked, pillaged, and plundered by the Muslim invaders of Spain.  And then it was kept standing to be used as a place of victorious worship for the Islamic community there.  And yet, no one in America is batting an eye, when this "innocent" Imam is looking to call his Mosque at 9/11 "Cordoba"?  What is wrong with this country?!
Sure, the WTC was not a religious place.  But it was held as an icon in the American tradition.  Just as the Pentagon building is an icon.  Just as the White House is an icon, and it was spared thanks to the brave Americans who gave their lives to crash their plane before it was able to crash into our Nation's capital.  And yet, there's already an Islamic crescent moon in the field where those victims should have been memorialized.  Why are we giving more religious credit to the men who attacked our country, then to the Americans who were victimized on that day?
Now, I'm not into violence.  I especially approve those brave leaders of the free Islamic world who have stood up in unity with Christians and decried the Mosque being built on Ground Zero (*crickets chirping...Anyone?  Anyone?*)  I don't believe in book burnings, I'd rather see all concerned Christians pray a Rosary on this day than burn the Koran (see above for historical significance.)  But Americans can hide behind this false god of inclusivity all they want.  This war between the Eastern Islamic countries and the Western Christian countries is decidedly that.  A war on religion, a war on religious principles.  This is the main reason why a majority of Americans who are queezy at the thought of a war in Afghanistan or Iraq or any other predominately Muslim country are 'uncomfortable with the thought of war'.  Because deep down, I bet they're 'uncomfortable' with the thought of religion.  And now?  In retaliation for standing up to this creepy Imam and saying "NO!  America does not want this Mosque built!" He is slyly saying that there will be repercussions on our troops.  "Give the Islamic community its tribute to the victories of this day, or more innocent men and women will be killed by our religion!"  That was his warning...So this same religion that was the reason for so many innocent lives lost on that day, September 11th 2001, for these proclaimed jihadists who were declared heroes and martyrs for their faith by the Islamic world, is to be allowed to build a place to worship over the unknown bodies of its victims from this horrendous crime against humanity?  And if we don't see 'reason' (e.g. the reason why this Mosque should still be built) then we're Islamaphobes.  And if we don't care about name calling, and still stand against this Mosque...Then we are threatened with the truth that MORE MEN AND WOMEN WILL BE KILLED IN THE NAME OF THIS RELIGION!!!

And that's what we want America?  We want to see this Mosque built, this religion of fanaticism honored in the place where it claimed so many lives?  This is the answer for America?  Peace at any price, and we'll foot the tab?

As for me and my  house?  We're praying the Rosary today for the men and women who were killed on 9/11, as well as for the conversion of many to the love of Jesus Christ and His Church.  I wouldn't kill a Muslim if he/she didn't come to my Faith (and yes, many have been killed by being labeled as "infadels" for not converting to the Muslim faith.)  No, I would pray and sacrifice for these people, for their souls, that they come to find the Way, the Truth, and the Life...And the Sacraments.  Christ called us to pray for those who persecute us, for our enemies.  And despite our best attempts at passivism, America has enemies.  Let's pray for them, and speak out against the plans for this Mosque to be built!